I don't agree with prosecuting them for fraud, but the tampering should be known by their clients.
After period of warmer global average temperatures, June 2017 experienced a mean anomaly of 0.21°C. The figure was 0.05°C higher than Professor Armstrong’s forecast, and 0.25°C lower than Mr Gore’s IPCC warming projection. Despite the fall in average temperature and a clear win for the month for Professor Armstrong, 59% of previous months over the course of the bet were cooler.
As always, there were regional variations. For example, the average temperature anomaly over land in the southern hemisphere was (slightly) negative.
For the latest chart and data, click on the chart to the right.
South Korea Officially Legalizes Bitcoin, Huge Market For Traders
It looks as if Bitcoin is getting Segregated Witness.
Bitcoin Improvement Proposal 91 (BIP 91) just locked in. Up to 90 percent of all hash power signaled support for this soft fork, which implies miners intend, in turn, to trigger Segregated Witness (SegWit) activation. By extension, this should make BIP 148 obsolete and August 1 a non-event.
But SegWit is not certain. In fact, on a technical level, SegWit is not any closer to activation at all.
Segregated Witness, defined by BIP 141, locks in if at least 95 percent of miners (by hash power) signal support for the upgrade within a two-week difficulty period. To do so, miners need to embed a piece of data called “bit 1” in the blocks they mine.
Importantly, this is technically the only way for SegWit to activate right now. And this threshold has not yet been met.
But there are alternative strategies to try and trigger this threshold “indirectly” — like BIP 91.
BIP 91 is a Bitcoin Improvement Proposal proposed by Bitmain Warranty engineer James Hilliard. It is compatible with the New York Agreement and backed by a number of Bitcoin companies and mining pools. It is also compatible with BIP 148, another strategy to trigger the BIP 141 threshold indirectly.
Miners have been signaling support for BIP 91 over the past couple of days through another piece of data, “bit 4.” Once 269 blocks within a 336-block window included bit 4, this BIP 91 soft fork locks in. This threshold was just met.
This means that after another 336 blocks, a little over two days from now, all BIP 91–compatible nodes will reject any block that doesn’t include bit 1.
As long as a majority of hash power enforces BIP 91, this majority should eventually control the longest valid chain according to all Bitcoin nodes. And as this chain consists of bit 1 SegWit-signaling blocks only, it would in turn lock in SegWit on all SegWit-ready nodes by mid-August. SegWit itself should then be live on the Bitcoin network after a two-week “grace period” by the end of that month.
If all goes well …
What Could Go Wrong?
Although well over 80 percent of hash power has signaled bit 4 for BIP 91 lock in, this doesn’t actually guarantee anything. Most importantly, it doesn’t in itself mean that these miners will signal bit 1 for SegWit.
Indeed, so far, most miners don’t. Currently, the proportion of miners signaling bit 1 is still far lower than BIP 91 activation would suggest. It is even lower than 50 percent.
Moreover, BIP 91 will probably be enforced by hardly any economically relevant nodes; that is, nodes operated by users that accept bitcoins as payment. Almost no Bitcoin users on the network recognize BIP 91 or its bit 4 signaling at all, and will therefore continue to accept blocks with or without bit 1.
BIP 91 will, instead, be enforced by hash power alone. This in turn means that a majority of miners (by hash power) could back out of BIP 91 with little more than reputational damage. They could continue to mine blocks that do not signal bit 1, even after BIP 91 activates in a few days. As long as these miners are in a majority, they will still control the longest valid chain: valid according to most miners, and valid to most users.
Furthermore, any minority of miners and the few nodes that do enforce the BIP 91 soft fork would then be forked off the Bitcoin network. In a few days from now, these miners would mine (on top of) blocks that almost only they themselves would care for, while most of the rest of the entire Bitcoin network would completely ignore them.
With this week’s bit 4 signaling, a majority of miners have effectively made a statement that they intend to start to activate the SegWit soft fork within a couple of days. But for now, that’s really all it is: a very public, blockchain-based statement of intent.
Actual SegWit activation should start next week, if miners stick to their stated intent.
The post BIP 91 Has Locked In. Here’s What That Means (and What It Does Not) appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.
Building decentralized infrastructure for resilient and hugely scalable Ðapps is exciting, and the potential rewards for the community and the citizenry are immense. But nobody ever said that the work will be easy. The technology is cutting edge, the problems are new, and the past is not a good guide of how to get things done in the decentralized space.
But one thing we have learned is that you can get so much more done by working together with talented and like-minded people. In the case of Golem and Streamr, we’ve realised yet again that this very much remains true.
The two companies and the key people were introduced to each other by common friends earlier this year. Since we first met, Golem and Streamr have had a number of pow-wows, stimulating discussions have been had, premises and home towns of both teams have been visited, and pizza and refreshments have been consumed.
In these meetings it has become apparent that there is a great amount of overlap between what the two teams are planning to do in their respective roadmaps. Golem and Streamr have therefore decided to formally co-operate on the shared part of the technology stack. Cue fanfare!
Why is this a great match?
For the followers of either Golem or Streamr projects, a few words about the context may be of interest. As mentioned, it’s become apparent to our friends at Golem and us at Streamr that there is a deep and broad shared problem space. In the case of either project, a peer-to-peer (P2P) network is an integral part of the technology stack. In Golem, computing tasks are distributed to computation nodes in the Golem network. In Streamr and especially in the transport layer — i.e. the Streamr Network — messaging and data storage tasks are distributed to broker nodes in a P2P network.
The implication is that there is a wide overlapping region where both projects need to solve similar problems. Areas where common problems are likely to be found include the assignment of tasks to computing resources, validation of computation results, atomicity of data exchange and payments, reputation management, resource measurement, pricing mechanisms, assessment of task scalability, understanding and monitoring network dynamics, long-running tasks, low-latency tasks, and blockchain interoperability.
A vision for the decentralized Internet
But we can go even further with this. Given the number of questions which are of interest to both projects, it is natural to ask whether a suitable abstraction exists which may simplify the R&D roadmap. In particular, can we redefine the network stack so as to efficiently and elegantly handle the different tasks fulfilled by either project?
The answer, we believe, is affirmative. Think of a network which follows a hierarchical protocol where each layer is decentralized. In other words, each layer consists of a network of nodes, each of which implements one or more parts of the shared communication and computing stack. A tentative plan for the hierarchical protocol includes the following layers:
- (Application layer)
- (Additional infrastructure layers)
- Streamr (data transport layer)
- Golem (computation layer)
- Ethereum (blockchain layer)
If you take a step back, you’ll see that what we envisage here is effectively a protocol stack for the decentralized Internet. And when you think of the cooperation between Golem and Streamr in such terms, the possibilities are truly and profoundly exciting!
What does this mean to you?
Golem is making good progress along its roadmap, but if there’s a chance to deliver better things and faster, the Golem team is certainly willing to take that chance. We also believe that the cooperation will be a boon for the community. The intention is that the code and solutions co-developed by Golem and Streamr will be free for everyone to use under the appropriate open source license.
At Streamr, we are excited to get to work with the deep thinkers at Golem to solve common problems for mutual benefit. We also find Golem to be the perfect platform for decentralizing the Streamr Engine, our real-time stream computing layer. Working together and even bundling both technologies opens the door to tremendous added value to application creators. The cooperation will take us, one step at a time, towards the decentralized application stack envisaged above!
If you want to keep track of the fruits of the cooperation, please join us in either the Golem Slack, the Streamr Slack, or preferably both! Also check out the Streamr blog for demos and wild thoughts.
You are likely aware that the US, and many other countries, are spending billions and billions of dollars on climate research. After drug development, it probably has become the single most lucrative academic sector.
Let me ask a question. If you were concerned (as you should be) about lead in soil and drinking water and how it might or might not be getting into the bloodstream of children, what would you spend money on? Sure, better treatments and new technologies for filtering and cleaning up lead. But wouldn't the number one investment be in more and better measurement of environmental and human lead concentrations, and how they might be changing over time?
So I suppose if one were worried about the global rise in temperatures, one would look at better and more complete measurement of these temperatures. Hah! You would be wrong.
There are three main global temperature histories: the combined CRU-Hadley record (HADCRU), the NASA-GISS (GISTEMP) record, and the NOAA record. All three global averages depend on the same underlying land data archive, the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN). Because of this reliance on GHCN, its quality deficiencies will constrain the quality of all derived products.
The number of weather stations providing data to GHCN plunged in 1990 and again in 2005. The sample size has fallen by over 75% from its peak in the early 1970s, and is now smaller than at any time since 1919.
Well, perhaps they have focused on culling a large poor quality network into fewer, higher quality locations? If they have been doing this, there is little or no record of that being the case. To outsiders, it looks like stations just keep turning off. And in fact, by certain metrics, the quality of the network is falling:
The collapse in sample size has increased the relative fraction of data coming from airports to about 50 percent (up from about 30 percent in the 1970s). It has also reduced the average latitude of source data and removed relatively more high-altitude monitoring sites.
Airports, located in the middle of urban centers by and large, are terrible temperature measurement points, subject to a variety of biases such as the urban heat island effect. My son and I measured over 10 degrees Fahrenheit different between the Phoenix airport and the outlying countryside in an old school project. Folks who compile the measurements claim that they have corrected for these biases, but many of us have reasons to doubt that (consider this example, where an obviously biased station was still showing in the corrected data as the #1 warming site in the country). I understand why we have spent 30 years correcting screwed up biased stations because we need some stations with long histories and these are what we have (though many long lived stations have been allowed to expire), but why haven't we been building a new, better-sited network?
Ironically, there has been one major investment effort to improve temperature measurement, and that is through satellite measurements. We now use satellites for official measures of cloud cover, sea ice extent, and sea level, but the global warming establishment has largely ignored satellite measurement of temperatures. For example, James Hansen (Al Gore's mentor and often called the father of global warming) strongly defended 100+ year old surface temperature measurement technology over satellites. Ironically, Hansen was head, for years, of NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS), so one wonders why he resisted space technology in this one particular area. Cynics among us would argue that it is because satellites give the "wrong" answer, showing a slower warming rate than the heavily manually adjusted surface records.
Google was (and is) a big supporter of Net Neutrality. Content providers like Google (Google owns Youtube, among other large content sites) want to make sure that other content providers are not somehow given special treatment by the ISP's that provide the bandwidth for consumers to view these sites. In particular, sites like Youtube and Netflix, which consume a HUGE percentage of the bandwidth at many ISP's, don't want to somehow pay any extra costs that might be imposed on content sites that use a lot of bandwidth. I wrote this on net neutrality a few years ago:
Net Neutrality is one of those Orwellian words that mean exactly the opposite of what they sound like. There is a battle that goes on in the marketplace in virtually every communication medium between content creators and content deliverers. We can certainly see this in cable TV, as media companies and the cable companies that deliver their product occasionally have battles that break out in public. But one could argue similar things go on even in, say, shipping, where magazine publishers push for special postal rates and Amazon negotiates special bulk UPS rates.
In fact, this fight for rents across a vertical supply chain exists in virtually every industry. Consumers will pay so much for a finished product. Any vertical supply chain is constantly battling over how much each step in the chain gets of the final consumer price.
What "net neutrality" actually means is that certain people, including apparently the President, want to tip the balance in this negotiation towards the content creators (no surprise given Hollywood's support for Democrats). Netflix, for example, takes a huge amount of bandwidth that costs ISP's a lot of money to provide. But Netflix doesn't want the ISP's to be be able to charge for this extra bandwidth Netflix uses - Netflix wants to get all the benefit of taking up the lion's share of ISP bandwidth investments without having to pay for it. Net Neutrality is corporate welfare for content creators.
A typical ISP would see this relative usage of its bandwidth. You can be assured everyone on this list is a huge net neutrality supporter.
Essentially, Google wanted to force ISP's to be common carriers, to be legally required to carry all traffic equally, even if certain traffic (like Google's Youtube) is about a million times more expensive to serve than other people's content.
But the point of this story is not about my issues with Net Neutrality. The point of this story is Karma, or as we used to say it in the South, what "goes around, comes around."
The European Union’s antitrust watchdog in the coming weeks is set to hit Alphabet Inc.’s Google with a record fine for manipulating its search results to favor its own comparison-shopping service, according to people familiar with the matter.
The penalty against Google is expected to top the EU’s previous record fine levied on a company allegedly abusing its dominance: €1.06 billion (about $1.18 billion) against Intel Corp.in 2009.
The fine could reach as high as 10% of the company’s yearly revenue, which stood at $90.27 billion last year.
But more painful to Google than a sizable fine could be other consequences that come with the European Commission’s decision, including changes not only to the tech giant’s business practices with its shopping service but with other services as well. The EU’s decision could also embolden private litigants to seek compensation for damages at national courts.
The EU is likely to demand Google treat its own comparison shopping service equally with those of its competitors, such as Foundem.co.uk and Kelkoo.com Ltd., possibly requiring the search giant to make rival services more visible on its own platform than they are at present. Such companies rely on traffic to their site from search engines like Google’s.
Hah! I think this is a terrible decision that has nothing to do with economic sanity or even right and wrong -- it has to do with the EU's frequent historic use of anti-trust law as a way to bash foreign competition of its domestic providers, to the detriment of its consumers. But it certainly is Karma for Google. The EU is demanding that Google's search engine become a common carrier, showing content from shopping sites equally and without favor or preference. The EU is demanding of Google exactly what Google is demanding of ISP's, and wouldn't you know it, I don't think they are going to like it.
If one is curious why the public is economically illiterate, look no further than our media. The AP's Paul Wiseman managed to write 1300 words on the loss of teenage summer jobs, and even lists a series of what he considers to be the causes, without ever once mentioning the minimum wage or the substantial restrictions on teen employment in place in many states. I do not know Paul Wiseman and so I will not guess at his motivations - whether ignorance or intentional obfuscation - but it is impossible to believe that this trend isn't in part due to the minimum wage. As I wrote in the comments on the AZ Republic:
How is it possible to write over 1300 words on the disapearance of teenage summer jobs without once mentioning the minimum wage?
Two of the most substantial criticisms of the minimum wage are 1. it prices low-skilled workers out of the market (and there is no one more unskilled than an inexperienced teenager) and 2. it put 100% emphasis on pay as the only reward for work, while giving no credit for things like gaining valuable experience and skills. We clearly see both at work here, and it is likely no coincidence that we are seeing this article in the same year minimum wages went up by 25% in AZ, as they have in many other states.
By the way, in addition to the minimum wage, AZ (as has many other states) has established all sorts of laws to "protect" underrage workers by adding all sorts of special work rules and tracking requirements. In our business, which is a summer recreation business, we used to hire a lot of teenagers. Now we have a policy banning the hiring of them -- they are too expensive, they create too much liability, and the rules for their employment are too restrictive.
Without evidence, he treats it entirely as a supply problem, ie that teens are busy and are not looking for work. But the data do not support this. The teen unemployment rate, defined as employment by teens actively looking for work, is up. The workforce participation rate for teens is down, but the author has nothing but anecdotal evidence that this is a supply rather than a demand issue. It could be because teens are busier or buried in their cell phones or whatever or it could be because they have given up looking for work.
[Fill In Government Program Name or Name of Socialist Country] Would Have Worked if Only the Right People Had Run It
An upstate New York mom has been arrested for an unspeakable crime. She allowed her 10-year-old child to shop alone at the Lego store in the local mall while she shopped in a different store.
Rochester station WHEC reports:
The Ontario County Sheriff’s Office says a Pittsford mother is accused of leaving her ten-year-old child alone in the Lego Store at Eastview Mall while she shopped.
Deputies say that 44-year-old Jia Fan was arrested at about 5:37 p.m. Sunday evening. She is charged with endangering the welfare of a child.
Ah yes, that poor, endangered kid, surrounded by small pieces of plastic.
Alert readers may recall that in 2014 a mom in Long Island, New York, was arrested for leaving her 7-year-old at the Roosevelt Field Mall Lego store for one hour and 20 minutes while she shopped elsewhere in the mall. And in 2015, a Lego store in Canada detained an 11-year-old for being “too young” to shop alone. That child’s father, Doug Dunlop, wrote a letter to the company:
Today, our son went to the Lego store in Chinook Mall, Calgary, Alberta. He had over $200 and was intending to purchase some Lego with it….
Imagine my surprise when I entered the store and found that the manager had called a security guard to detain my son….
I spoke to the security guard who told me that the Lego store required a parent to be with any child 12 or under. He stated that it was Lego store policy and that he was just enforcing it.
I then followed the guard to the manager, and asked him why he would call security on my son. He stated that for safety reasons, no child under 12 could be left unattended in the store.
My question: Is a child of double digits “unattended” or simply “on their own” if they are out in public without an adult chaperone? One label implies negligence on the part of the parent, the other implies a parent who has raised a competent young adult.
Another question: Did Lego call the cops on the latest kid, or did the cops stumble upon the kid on their own?
The Lego corporate press office has not responded to my request for comment. The manager of the Eastview Mall Lego store, Dan Prouty, told me that he could not comment on whether or not someone at his store called the cops. But Prouty did acknowledge that there’s a sign in his store’s window that says, in his words, “children under the age of 12 are not allowed to be unattended in the store—that’s paraphrased a little bit.”
I went into the Lego store at Rockefeller Center here in New York City yesterday and asked the guard if I could let my (hypothetical) 11-year-old come shop my himself. The guard told me no.
Lego does seem to be obsessed with age liability. Consider these admission rules at the Legoland in Toronto:
Please note: Children 17 and under must be accompanied by an adult supervisor 18 years of age or older. Adults (18+) will not be admitted without a child, with the exception of Adult Only Nights.
So people are almost always too old OR too young to visit Legoland alone.
As for the mom in upstate New York, WHEC says she was “given an appearance ticket, and is expected to answer the charge in Victor Town Court on a future date.”
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Music mastered by Ben Karlstrom
Video by Meredith Bragg
People need kidneys, it's sad but decreed
yet this Senator's hoarding one more than she needs
I offer this bill and I hope you'll vote "aye"
Unless, of course, you just want PEOPLE TO DIE!
Traffic deaths have many crying with fear
Over 30,000 people are dying each year
this modest change I propose must be applied
Unless, of course, you just want PEOPLE TO DIE!
Alcohol deaths are exceeding comparisons
Black people, white people, Native Americans
We need to ban alcohol, it can't be denied
Unless, of course, you just want PEOPLE TO DIE!
Murders are bad. They have no defenders
yet many are committed by repeat offenders
I say lifetime in prison, whatever the crime
unless, of course, you want PEOPLE TO DIE!
So I don't have a bill, or a groan to detail
I just need a short clip for my donor email
Tim THERE'S BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS! YOU WANT PEOPLE TO DIE!
That good? Cool. Tim, dinner at five? Yeah.
These car deaths I mentioned are terrible stuff
It just doesn't seem that one seatbelt's enough
Either vote for my act so that fewer will cry
Unless, of course, you just want PEOPLE TO DIE!
The carbs. The container. We cannot ignore
Whipped cream's killing more people than ever before
This bill would be passed and be ratified
if those people there didn't want PEOPLE TO DIE!
Why not weigh all the costs, the effects, the results
Empathize with each other as if we were adults
Use our brains to craft arguments--not vilify
See that freedom's a trade-off--YOU WANT PEOPLE TO DIE!
Open Adventure 1.1 has shipped. There are a lot more changes under the hood than are readily apparent. In fact there have been no changes in gameplay at all, and only minor changes to the UI (reversible with the -o oldstyle switch).
We (Jason Ninneman, Per Vorpaev, Aaron Traas, Peje Nilsson and I) could have taken the approach of changing the original rather ugly C code (mechanically translated from FORTRAN) as little as possible, simply packaging it for compilation and release in a modern environment.
I elected not to do that, one reason being that I think we honor hacker tradition better by bring the code forward as a dynamic, living artifact that invites being hacked on than museumizing it as a static one. There’s also the fact that the extreme obscurity of the code made it difficult to appreciate what a work of genius Adventure actually was. (The code we inherited had over 350 gotos in it – rather hard to see past those.)
So we’ve taken a different path. We’ve translated the code into (almost) fully idiomatic C (but not trying to introduce pointer idioms; that should make translation to future languages easier). We’ve replaced the rather cryptic custom text database file that used to define the dungeon with a YAML document that is orders of magnitude easier to read and modify. We haven’t hesitated to use technology that wasn’t even a gleam in anyone’s eye when Adventure originated – the YAML is compiled to C structures at build time by a Python script.
The effect (we hope) is Adventure as it would have been written if Crowther & Woods had had today’s tools to do it – the same vision and design logic, expressed in modern coding idioms. Worth doing, because there are still some things to be learned from this design.
Probably the single cleverest thing in it – which pretty much has to go back to Crowther, Woods couldn’t have bolted it on afterwards – is the way movement in the dungeon is handled. The dungeon’s topology is expressed by a kind of pseudocode broadly resembling the microcode found underneath a lot of processor architectures; movement consists of dispatching to the sequence of opcodes corresponding to the current room and figuring out which one to fire depending not only on the motion verb the user entered but also on conditionals in the pseudocode that can test for the presence or absence of objects and their state.
It was hard to fully understand and appreciate this before, because the code was a spaghetti tangle in what looks today like a shockingly primitive style. The abstraction of the dungeon topology into a declarative specification that – in effect – loads microcode into the game engine was a thing you could half-see, but the impact was blunted by the unreadability of both the code and the specification format. Lifting the specification to YAML was like polishing a rough diamond, revealing beauty and brilliance.
And that’s before we even get to Adventure considered as a work of communicative art. It’s had so many successful descendants – like, every dungeon-crawling game ever, and every text adventure ever – that it’s difficult to see with fresh eyes. But if you make the effort, it is astonishing how mature the wry, quirkily humorous, slightly surrealistic style of this very first game seems. The authors weren’t fumbling for an idiom that would be greatly improved by later artists more sure of themselves; instead, they achieved a consistent and (at the time, unique) style that would be closely emulated by pretty much everyone who followed them in text adventures, and not much improved on as style, even though the technology of the game engines improved by leaps and bounds.
I don’t know how they did it, and the authors would probably not be able to explain if we asked. But I think it is damned impressive how well this game has aged – the code may have needed a refresh, but the design still shines. I’m proud to have helped restore it, and hope I have brought it to a state where it can be forward-ported to future languages for as long as programming is a living art.
On the 11th of November, 2016, the great Ethereum community funded Golem project, placing their trust in us to deliver technology to change the way the entire market for computation is organised. Even more impressively, it seems the community even shared our goal of building a better, more decentralised Internet on top of this already ambitious goal. Thus our focus is on delivering technology, and the sustainable business model that would surround it. This means our focus is not on many other things community sometimes expects us to do, and I’d like to explain what those things are, and why we ignore them.
Golem competitors and their ICOs/crowdfundings
Subject: [contact] (name of the project) takes over Golem
Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2017 09:36:52 +0200
Are you going to write something on the various crypto news channels or you are gonna let eat (name of the project) you alive.
Investers will be running through the door to them if you keep silent on those channels.
Writting text isn’t that hard else people like me will be dumping gnt and go for their ico tomorrow.
It is our policy that, wherever possible, we simply do not engage in discussions with our competitors, especially those which are in a pre-crowdfunding phase. We are not doing that, because we see it as a waste of our valuable time. Again, we have to focus on delivering this technology. Our self-proclaimed competitors are focused on showing how they are different and superior to Golem. This is an obvious strategy, as there is no need to fund a project which would be exactly the same or even inferior to Golem. The truth is however, that both Golem and others will struggle to manifest this vision, because it is hard. Have we solved all the problems? Not yet, we’re working on it. Have they? I do not think so and have not seen anything which would change my mind. And besides, if they have solved anything, they could just launch it; there would be no need for crowdfunding.
Make no mistake: we are researching in detail every project around that we think might be interesting and valuable for us. We are already forming partnerships with great teams to work together on decentralised technologies. I believe there is always scope to cooperate, if the other party (even your competitor!) acts reasonable. I also believe that most of the teams working on similar technologies are legitimate, and some may eventually do better than Golem (of course I believe we are the best, but I am biased). I also think that sometimes, some of the project fail to communicate responsibly what their technology is, and even what Golem is — either because they have not researched the technology, or because they wish to create hype and FUD around some ICO. But, if that is often the case, why do we not engage in the discussion?
Communication to speculators does not matter
We do not do that because communication to traders and speculators is not that important to the actual development and adoption of our core technology. All the communication around ICOs and prices is communication to people interested in ICOs and prices. This group is not relevant for the adoption of projects like Golem. We either go mainstream, which is to say, we become successful at minimum in some interesting sub-communities outside of the blockchain space, or we die. And on the contrary, entering into irrelevant discussions on nonsensical statements (or true statements we have commented 10 times already) is simply a waste of our time. At this stage of the project, we owe ourselves and our community two things: regular information about our progress, and a business development and communications strategy for the broader world.
Price discussions are harmful
What I said above is even more true for the discussions around the price of GNT. A week ago I was asked to comment at a conference on prices. If you think about that, there is no way I can give a good answer. Regardless of what I say, it will be be misinterpreted by some, and not understood by others. It will result in a mess, and then an even larger mess when I will try to explain what I mean, which will itself be misinterpreted and misunderstood. I will waste a lot of time, the project will lose credibility, and that all for no gain whatsoever. About entering discussions on the ICOs and crowdfunding events of our competitors, we see it as more or less the same.
This is all about technology
What we are doing here is creating cutting-edge technology, and then pushing it to mainstream, practical use, as fast and hard as we can. Honestly I believe that we can do that — I know that this is what we are going to do. Thus, discussing how to achieve that is generally perceived by us as a better use of our time, certainly better than discussing other teams’ blog posts. And if this latter discussion is a process purely driven by ICO logic, then this is really not useful.
At the same time, discussing and sharing ideas, and building on the shoulders of others is how this space should work as a whole. This needs no hate/FUD about competitors, but rather mature discussion with others about technology, and clear-minded cooperation. At the moment, 5 engineers from the core Golem team are at the Swarm Summit in Berlin, busy exchanging ideas with other top developers in the Ethereum space. In my humble opinion, this is how we should discuss our decentralised future — and I encourage everyone, including our competitors, to do so.
On Competition, Technology, and Prices, or, Why We Do Not Speak About The Others was originally published in The Golem Project on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
h/t Whig Zhou
"Salt," an unknown wit once said, "is what makes things taste bad when it isn't in them." In that sense, government nutrition nannies have spent decades urging Americans to make their food taste bad.
In June 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued proposed guidelines to the food industry to reduce the amount of sodium in many prepared foods. The agency, noting that the average American eats about 3,400 mg of sodium daily, wants to cut that back to only 2,300 mg. That is basically the amount of sodium in one teaspoon of salt. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) similarly advises that "most Americans should consume less sodium" because "excess sodium can increase your blood pressure and your risk for a heart disease and stroke."
There's one problem: Evidence has been gathering for years that government salt consumption guidelines might well kill more people than they save.
The research does suggest that some subset of Americans may be especially sensitive to salt and would benefit from consuming less. Among those are folks with ancestors from Sub-Saharan Africa. But for most people, the risk lies elsewhere.
A 2014 meta-analysis of more than two dozen relevant studies, published in the American Journal of Hypertension, concluded that risk of death appeared to be lowest among individuals consuming between 2,565 mg and 4,796 mg of sodium per day, with higher rates of death above and below that consumption range. As noted above, the FDA itself reports that average daily consumption is 3,400 mg—right in the middle of the ideal range.
In April, a new study by researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine, who followed more than 2,600 people for 16 years, once again debunked the dire claims about salt. "We saw no evidence that a diet lower in sodium had any long-term beneficial effects on blood pressure," said lead researcher Lynn Moore. "Our findings add to growing evidence that current recommendations for sodium intake may be misguided."
In fact, the authors found that study participants who consumed less than 2,500 mg a day had higher blood pressure than those who consumed more. They also pointed out that other research has also found that people who consume very high or very low amounts are both at greater cardiovascular risk. "Those with the lowest risk," they noted, "had sodium intakes in the middle, which is the range consumed by most Americans."
America is not allowed to elect a conservative president of any form. The deep state, fourth branch of government has declared that they now have critical mass to enforce their will upon us independently from our elected officials. Liberal feeders have infected every branch of government, media and education to the point where even without any evidence, a conservative president will be impeached. There is zero evidence that Trump has done anything wrong, yet we are surrounded by openly visible liberal crimes that go un-prosecuted. Comey leaking to get a fake prosecutor, Hillary selling the US for personal gain, Obama fast and furious, Hillary’s dead ambassador to Lybia and the lies to cover it, instead we have fake prosecution recommended by deputy ag Rosenstein for Trump firing Comey, the very act that Rosenstein recommended in a public letter. Now we have a fake ‘public’ trial by partisan judges where every witness admitted that there is no evidence of wrongdoing. A trial which hasn’t ended because now the prosecuting liberals have switched from the proven false ‘Russia stole the election’ charges to different FAKE charges of obstruction of justice. Obstructing the investigation of the proven fake Russia stole the election charge by the way.
How does one obstruct justice regarding the non-investigation of a fake crime?
Only in America methinks.
Trump could order the investigation of something he was guilty of, stopped, without being guilty of obstruction by the way, because he’s actually the boss. He’s completely allowed to do that. Any common sense in America? No, instead, Muller hired 13 lawyers to prosecute a crime which by definition cannot exist. Trump is in charge of the FBI. He can stop any investigation at any time, yet he did NOT.
13 LIBERAL lawyers. Hillary and Democrat donors, Investigating a president without even a potential crime. YES they will make something up. We don’t know what but LAWYERS lie for a living. They twist fact into innuendo as a matter of duty. They find crime and innocence where none exist, and innuendo is their primary weapon. Having so many liberals paid to find a problem with the president is a huge issue.
But it got worse today.
“All Americans, regardless of party, agree on the fundamental principle that no one is above the law,” Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) told MSNBC Friday. “And if President Trump were to fire Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, and then [get] special counsel Mueller fired, I believe Congress would begin impeachment proceedings.”
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) echoed Lieu’s sentiments, saying that Congress would come together to make sure they overrule Trump’s authority on the matter.
“Congress will not allow the president to so egregiously overstep his authority,” Schiff said in a statement.
America is in trouble when the left, with no evidence can issue a statement to THREATEN the boss of the FBI with impeachment if he doesn’t allow his own employees to prosecute him for something that DID NOT HAPPEN. Obstruction of false politically motivated liberal attacks is the true crime and that is nothing but a job well done.
It seems Trump has little choice. In his place, I would fire them all right now with the statement that it is in our country’s best interest that these idiots move on. Muller, Rosenstein, and about 2500 other Obama swampmongers would leave right at this exact moment if I had the ability. Trump gets the same result either way, prosecution, innuendo and nonsense. Chuck them to the curb with extreme prejudice and put in someone who will investigate Comey, Clinton, Muller’s fake investigation and Obama. Because those folk all actually did obstruct “justice”.
Clinton lied to investigators–obstruction.
Clinton destroyed evidence–obstruction.
Clinton bribed and manipulated office holding investigators — obstruction.
A democrat operative who was apparently leaking to Wikileaks was shot. obstruction.
NO REAL INVESTIGATIONS of any of these things.
Hmm... 31st of June?
The IOTA Bug Bounty program was announced now more than a month ago. During this timeframe many of the existing, but also new community members participated in the bug hunting.
In total, we have found more than 35 issues (mostly in the low category) which the dev team quickly resolved. 1 critical bug was found related to the updating of the ledger state (which posed no serious security threat though).
These found bugs totalled some $5,215.00 — or in IOTA Terms, they are worth more than 72.476 Gi at a $200m market cap. The full list of bugs and the recipients can be found in the spreadsheet below:
We will continue paying out the bug bounty until the 31st of June. Feel free to continue submitting issues on Github.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has advocated a Red Team approach to evaluating the climate science guiding CO2 regulations.
The Red Team approach has been used for many years in private industry, DoD, and the intelligence community to examine very costly decisions and programs in a purposely adversarial way…to ask, what if we are wrong about a certain program or policy change? What might the unintended consequences be?
In such a discussion we must make sure that we do not conflate the consensus on a scientific theory with the need to change energy policy, as is often done. (Just because we know that car wrecks in the U.S. cause 40,000 deaths a year doesn’t mean we should outlaw cars; and I doubt human-caused climate change has ever killed anyone).
While science can help guide policy, it certainly does not dictate it.
In the case of global warming and the role of our carbon dioxide emissions, the debate has too long been dominated by a myopic view that asserts the following 5 general points as indisputable. I have ordered them generally from scientific to economic.
1) global warming is occurring, will continue to occur, and will have dangerous consequences
2) the warming is mostly, if not totally, caused by our CO2 emissions
3) there are no benefits to our CO2 emissions, either direct (biological) or indirect (economic)
4) we can reduce our CO2 emissions to a level that we avoid a substantial amount of the expected damage
5) the cost of reducing CO2 emissions is low enough to make it worthwhile (e.g. mandating much more wind, solar, etc.)
ALL of these 5 points must be essentially true for things like the Paris Agreement (which President Trump has now withdrawn us from…for the time being) to make much sense.
But I would argue that each of the five points can be challenged, and not just with “fake science”. There is peer-reviewed and published analysis in science and economics that would allow one to contest each one of the five claims.
The Red Team Approach: It’s NOT a Redo of the Blue Team
John Christy and I are concerned that the Red Team approach, if applied to global warming, will simply be a review of the U.N. IPCC science on global warming. We are worried that it will only address the first two points (warming will continue, and it is mostly caused by CO2). Heck, even *I* believe we will continue to see modest warming, and that it might well be at least 50% due to CO2.
But a Red Team reaffirming those points does NOT mean we should “do something” about global warming.
To fully address whether we should, say, have regulations to reduce CO2 emissions, the Red Team must address all 5 of the “consensus” claims listed above, because that is the only way to determine if we should change energy policy in a direction different from that which the free market would carry it naturally.
The Red Team MUST address the benefits of more CO2 to global agriculture, “global greening” etc.
The Red Team MUST address whether forced reductions in CO2 emissions will cause even a measurable effect on global temperatures.
The Red Team MUST address whether the reduction in prosperity and increase in energy poverty are permissible consequences of forced emissions reductions to achieve (potentially unmeasurable) results.
The membership of the Red Team will basically determine the Team’s conclusions. It must be made up of adversaries to the Blue Team “consensus”, which has basically been the U.N. IPCC. If it is not adversarial in membership and in mission, it will not be a real Red Team.
As a result, the Red Team must not be allowed to be controlled by the usual IPCC-affiliated participants.
Only then can its report can be considered to be an independent, adversarial analysis to be considered along with the IPCC report (and other non-IPCC reports) to help guide U.S. energy policy.
This just popped up out of nowhere at #6 on coinmarketcap.com. Market cap is around 1.7 billion. Whitepaper here - https://iota.org/IOTA_Whitepaper.pdf
I recently gave an introductory presentation to IOTA at the IoT and Blockchain meetup in Berlin. Since this meetup was recorded (and the video will be available on Youtube soon), I thought I would write up a quick blog post that accompanies the presentation so that other people can read through it and have an overview of what IOTA is, where we come from and where we’re going. If you want to hold a presentation about IOTA at a local meetup, feel free to use the content below, or even reach out to us so we can provide further assistance.
This blog post will be a bit more comprehensive (expect a ~15min read), but it’s clearly divided into sections so you can just skip the ones which are not relevant to you. Here’s the presentation:https://medium.com/media/5c48c4e5f7b7d08a85199b4682979ad5/href
IoT and Blockchain: A relationship that makes sense?
The exploration of Blockchain-related use case has been actively pursued by pretty much everyone in this space (corporates, startups, researchers, individuals) over the last 4 years. One of the areas that most excites us and many others is the Internet of Things. Not only has IoT a tremendous potential since it’s going to be everywhere (after all, it’s an ubiquitous computing and sensor platform), but it also has a whole range of problems where distributed ledgers could be the solution.
We’ll write an in-depth blog post on “Why IoT Needs a Ledger”, but the obvious reasons are: M2M Payments, Security of Things (including identity) and automated execution of processes.
Blockchain: We’re not quite there yet
The simple reality when it comes to Blockchain + IoT (or Blockchain and anything else), is that we’re simply not there yet. The technological limitations are apparent to everyone (including consultants) at this point. The two major problems that I want to elaborate on in this post are scalability and transaction fees.
In Bitcoin we’re already seeing the consequences of a protocol that is inherently limited, but is (intended to) being used by a wider audience. Over 200.000 transactions were unconfirmed at the time of writing. This is cumbersome for users, and means that the majority of use cases cannot be executed, simply because you will never get your transactions through. If you’re a large corporate, you don’t want to wait, pay a higher fee, or bear with the uncertainty of not getting your transactions through.
Now all of us are obviously excited about permissionless distributed ledgers and their potential especially in the corporate world, which has up until now only adopted private Blockchains for their use cases. The biggest issue next to scalability is transaction fees (they are largely intertwined). Bitcoin’s mean transaction fees have already risen above $1. The question of “Who is going to pay for it?”, arises regularly. Especially when it comes to micropayments and enabling a thriving Machine Economy, this question is no longer just a disadvantage listed on a Powerpoint presentation; but it’s a prohibitive factor that renders many of the use cases useless.
Having uncertainty about how much money you will end up receiving in a monetary transaction means that you have uncertainty if your business model even works (after all, you want to make a profit..). How much money will you end up making from selling one resource (e.g. electricity, bandwidth, computation) from one machine to another, when transactions fees are often unpredictable?
Even though we’re seeing a lot of R&D in this area, the overall conclusion is that Blockchain is not production ready, and most of the use cases that are being discussed right now cannot be executed at scale. Every technology in this space today is a Proof of Concept — even Bitcoin.
The Story behind IOTA
All of the founders of IOTA (David Sønstebø, Sergey Ivancheglo, Serguei Popov, Dominik Schiener), have been in the Blockchain space since 2010 to 2011. IOTA itself came out of a stealth hardware startup, which is working on a new trinary microprocessor with working title ‘Jinn’. One of the major differences of our origin stories vs. other projects is that IOTA came out of real necessity. It was not the drive of creating a fancy new DAG technology that initiated the project, but the apparent problem of transactional settlement for the Internet of Things, and the lack of existing solutions out there today.
Because we’ve been in this space for so long and have actually pioneered some of the first “Blockchain 2.0” technologies (such as the first full Proof of Stake Blockchain called Nxt, which had features such as a decentralized asset exchange, name registry and many more), we realized early on that we need to start from scratch to meet the challenging demands of the Internet of Things. With that in mind, the Tangle was born.
The main innovation behind IOTA is the Tangle. It’s a novel new distributed ledger architecture that is based on a DAG (Directed Acyclic Graph). One might refer to it as a “Blockchain without Blocks and the Chain” (semantically, it’s not really a Blockchain).
At its core, the Tangle still has the same underlying principles as a Blockchain: it’s still a distributed database, it’s still a P2P Network and it still relies on a consensus and validation mechanism.
But, if we are to summarize the main differences between the Tangle and the Blockchain, the two most apparent ones are how the Tangle is structured (a DAG), and how we achieve consensus.
In IOTA there are no “blocks” in the classical sense. Instead, a single transaction references two past transactions. This referencing of transactions is seen as an attestation: with your transaction you attest directly that two transactions, and indirectly that a subsection of the Tangle are valid and conform to the protocols rules.
Instead of a smaller subset of the network being responsible for the overall consensus (miners / stakers), the entire network of active participants (i.e. devices making transactions), are directly involved in the approval of transactions. As such, consensus in IOTA is no longer decoupled from the transaction making process: it’s an intrinsic part of it, and it’s what enables IOTA to scale without any transaction fees.
The transaction making process in IOTA is a simple, 3 step process:
- Signing: You sign the transaction inputs with your private keys
- Tip Selection: MCMC (Markov chain Monte Carlo) is used to randomly select two tips (i.e. unconfirmed transactions), which will be referenced by your transaction (branchTransaction and trunkTransaction)
- Proof of Work: In order to have your transaction accepted by the network, you need to do some Proof of Work — similar to Hashcash (spam and sybil-resistance)
Once you’ve done that, your transaction will be broadcast to the network. Someone else will come along, choose your transaction in the tip selection process and validate it. And just like that, your transaction is confirmed.
Consensus in IOTA
As with any Distributed Ledger the question is: how does the network agree on the current state? With that question, we directly also tap on the “double-spending problem” (which probably confuses most people with IOTA)
Lets take a look at the colored Tangle picture above. Green blocks: transactions on which consensus was achieved (i.e. transaction finality with some security guarantees); red blocks: transactions where we are still uncertain on their full acceptance; grey blocks: tips (unconfirmed transactions).
Goal of any transaction is it to be green — you want it to be confirmed and accepted by the entire network. The question is, how do you go from grey, to red, to green? Without going into discussion on the CAP Theorem and the concept of eventual consistency, let me explain.
When we look at the picture, the main difference of the green and the red blocks, is that the green blocks are indirectly referenced by all the grey blocks. This means that for every confirmed transaction, there is a direct path leading to it from a tip. As such, it is quite easy to determine the confirmation level of your transaction: we execute the MCMC algorithm N times, the probability of your transaction being accepted is therefore M of N (M being the number of times you land on a tip that has a direct path to your transaction).
As a merchant, in IOTA you have complete freedom to decide with what probability you will start accepting transactions. If you are happy with 51% probability, you execute MCMC 100 times, and if 51 times or more there is a path, you accept the transaction and exchange goods. For high value transaction you can increase this threshold to 99 or even 100.
Once you have understood this concept of transaction finality in IOTA, you will start appreciating the simplicity and beauty of this system. It’s completely self-regulating and ensures both scalability and security.
Lets dive into some of the main features of IOTA, so you better understand why IOTA is so awesome.
Because IOTA achieves consensus on the validity of transactions without the involvement of any miners, we also have no transaction fees to pay. IOTA is the first transactional settlement protocol that enables you to transact even sub-cent values Peer-to-Peer without any transaction fees for either the sender or the recipient. As such, we really perceive IOTA to be the backbone of all current and future micropayment and nanopayment use cases.
IOTA was designed to enable transactional settlement at scale. Since consensus is parallelized, and not done in sequential intervals of batches as in Blockchain, the network is able to grow and scale dynamically with the number of transactions. The more transactions are made, the more secure and the more efficient the Tangle gets.
Some of our most recent stresstests have already shown Confirmed Transactions Per Second above 100 in smaller networks of less than 250 nodes, with confirmation times of 10seconds or less. A much larger stresstest is coming up soon.
The beauty of the Tangle is that you can fluidly branch off and back into the network. This partitioning is key in being adaptive to the rigorous requirements of an asynchronous IoT environment. There is no such thing as always-on connectivity, as such you need to be able to make transactions and secure data even in an offline environment. IOTA makes it possible for a cluster of devices to branch off and still make transactions in an offline environment; utilizing different communication protocols (ZigBee, Bluetooth LE, etc.) for the P2P communication. More on some specific use cases in Supply Chain and Mobility later.
The main reason why IOTA was created is to enable and to be the backbone of the Machine Economy. We envision a future where Machines trade resources (computation, electricity, storage, bandwidth, data etc.) and services with each other without the involvement of any third party — purely Machine-to-Machine. As the Internet of Things starts unleashing itself, the need for “Smart Decentralization” is apparent.
I will leave this as a cliffhanger here, as we have a larger blog post all about the vision of IOTA coming up very soon (will link to it here once ready).
IOTA’s unique feature of feeless transactions enables a plethora of use cases that are not possible on any other platform. Not only do we enable true micropayments (send 1 cent, receive 1 cent), but we also improve existing and enable new data integrity use cases. With the introduction of more IXI modules we will further increase the usability and the use cases enabled by IOTA.
The main industries where we are running case studies are Mobility, Energy, Smart Cities and Infrastructure (such as smart grids). Even though we mainly focus on the Internet of Things and the Machine Economy, IOTA is well suited for payments between humans as well. Especially if we look at remittances, where we want to be able to transact even a few dollars from Country A to Country B; IOTA has a unique offering.
We will be writing follow-up blog posts on all the specific use cases. This way readers will get an in-depth overview of what we do. The use cases which we are currently developing with our corporate partners will also be written about and explained in more details with case studies soon.
The Core Team has been working on IOTA and its ecosystem since summer 2015. Over the course of the past 2 years, we have further refined and optimized the Tangle concept. Especially the launch of the main network on July 11th 2016 has given us great insight to optimize the core client. The IOTA Reference Implementation is written in Java and is available on Github.
To make IOTA ever-more user-friendly, we have also developed a GUI Client which amongst other things, has dedicated GPU and light-wallet support. In order to truly foster the ecosystem, we have also setup a dedicated “Learn” hub, where developers can publish tutorials for their IOTA-powered applications. This is a source of resources for developers intending to get started.
Overall, we have so far facilitated more than 2.5m txs on the main network (with more than 30million on our respective testnets). This has enabled some $100m+ to be transacted, purely Peer to Peer without any transaction fees.
As we truly aim at scalability, we have setup a framework that makes it possible to launch AWS and Azure instances on the fly, and simulate a network of nodes transacting with each other. From these stresstests we’ve already gotten some early results (as shown in the screenshot above), and we’re currently preparing for a much larger stresstest where we aim at achieving 1000TPS.
The IOTA Foundation
IOTA itself, and all the technologies that we will build on top and alongside it, are governed by the non-profit IOTA Foundation. The IOTA Foundation will be a “gemeinnützige Stiftung” based in Berlin, Germany focused on developing and standardizing new DLT-based technologies. We truly believe in the vision of a Machine Economy; as such we need to foster a thriving ecosystem that encourages interoperability and permissionless innovation.
The Foundation acts as a neutral party that helps in executing and achieving our vision. More information about the Foundation, its members and the governance structure will be published over the coming weeks. Needless to say, we are in this for the long-run.
Focus over the next few months will it be to develop additional core clients and to extend IOTA’s potential via IXI (IOTA eXtensible Interface). The development of the Go, Rust and C++ client has already started, and will be completed by Summer. Major emphasis will be put on optimization and making the core client more adaptive to specific deployment environments. Our goal is it to make IOTA production ready by the end of the year.
Masked Authenticated Messaging (MAM) makes it possible to have a secure, encrypted and authenticated data stream on the Tangle. As a first in this space, we ensure both data integrity and encrypted data blobs on our distributed ledger. This means that only certain parties with the proper authorization can read the data stream. With MAM we are already developing use cases aimed at supply chain and sensor data integrity.
Our approach to Oracles will make it possible to directly form oracles on top of IOTA. This is unlike anything that’s currently being used in this space. With our Oracle platform we not only aim at connecting the physical world with IOTA; but we also want to enable true interoperability with all other Blockchain platforms.
The simulation framework that we’ve been working on over the last few months is going to be published in June. This framework will make it possible to simulate a global, clustered Tangle environment and gain concrete insights on network propagation, transaction finality and confirmation rates. In addition to that, we’ve implemented and simulated the attacks from the Tangle whitepaper.
We are not maximalists and believe in the future of purpose-specific technologies. Because of that, we are working actively on interoperability with existing Blockchain technologies and communities. Right now the main focus is on EVM-based Blockchains (Ethereum, RSK, Qtum) and Hyperledger. With the release of our new Oracle platform we envision true interoperability with many more projects in this space.
One of the first initiatives aimed at building an ecosytem around IOTA is our recently announced Ecosystem Fund. Together with a few dedicated community members and key partners, the Foundation has set aside more than $2m that will be used to fund the development of use cases and prototypes, active research for IXI modules and general projects that help in increasing awareness and understanding around IOTA.
If you are interested in applying to the fund, please head over to the official announcement, which has further instructions.
IOTA is one of the most innovative projects in this space. The Core team is dedicated and committed to bring IOTA millions — if not billions — of devices and watch our vision of a Machine Economy unfold. There are many more announcements especially with our corporate partners which will be announced over the course of the next few months, alongside the introduction of new IXI modules and other protocols which we’re developing.
Here’s a letter that I sent earlier this week to the New York Times:
In “What Monkeys Can Teach Us About Fairness” (June 4) Nicholas Kristof recounts what happens when human experimenters arbitrarily give some monkeys cucumber slices while giving other monkeys more highly prized grapes. When the monkeys receiving the cucumbers see other monkeys getting grapes, they react with disgust. From this experiment Mr. Kristof correctly concludes that monkeys care about fairness. But Mr. Kristof then draws a further conclusion, namely, that the monkeys’ disgust is sparked by the ‘income’ differences. This latter conclusion is unjustified.
What is unfair about this distribution of cucumbers and grapes is that it is completely arbitrary. It’s connected in no way to any differences in effort or contribution on the part of the monkeys. Would the monkeys who get the cucumber slices be disgusted if the monkeys who get the grapes have to work twice or three times as hard as is required to get cucumber slices? The experiment as recounted by Mr. Kristof supplies no answer to this question, although a plausible prediction is that monkeys would find unequal ‘distributions’ of cucumbers and grapes far less unfair and disgusting when such differences reflect perceived differences in effort or merit.
If for no reason other than the fact that incomes in modern market societies are not arbitrarily dispensed and ‘distributed’ (as they are in the monkey experiment) but, instead, are produced and largely reflect differences in the contributions that each of us makes to the well-being of our fellows, it’s disappointingly unscientific for Mr. Kristof to leap from the results of these experiments with monkeys to the conclusion that humans suffer anger and disgust at income differences regardless of the source(s) of these differences.
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030
This column by Kristof is very revealing about the presumptions that typical NYT columnists have about the social processes that generate incomes. Here, Kristof apparently assumes that such incomes are literally distributed rather arbitrarily.
Chancellor Angela Merkel is perturbed by the USA’s unruly new leader, President Donald Trump, who demanded deadbeat Germany pay up big on NATO. But what really took the cake was the President strongly signaling his rejection of the Paris climate accord. That was just too much to take.
In terse comments Merkel has even called into question the transatlantic relationship, saying that the US could no longer be counted on as a reliable partner. Merkel and Germany’s leaders are offended, and have unfriended Trump.
What is strange is that the mainstream media and leading climate action proponents like Merkel all pretend that Germany is a responsible leader in cutting back CO2 emissions, and even claim that big emitters, like China and India, are all onboard in curbing CO2 emissions, and that is only the USA that is the big, rogue CO2 sinner.
However, when we look at the facts, we see that Merkel and the German climate activists are truly living a fake reality.
The real reality is that Germany has done virtually nothing at all to reduce its CO2 emissions over the past years.
No GHG emissions reductions in 8 years!
And despite all of Merkel’s pontification and Trump-scolding on climate protection, her own country, Germany, has itself not cut back on greenhouse gas emissions in 8 years!
German greenhouse gas emissions (CO2 equivalent in millions of tonnes) have not fallen since 2009. Source: Umweltbundesamt.
Last year German CO2 emissions in fact rose by some 4 million tonnes, from 902 million in 2015 to an estimated 906 million tonnes in 2016.
And Merkel has had it with Trump? She’s the last who should be preaching. On GHG emissions, Merkel is a phony.
Note that Germany’s drop since 1990 comes mostly as a result of shutting down former communist-run East Germany, after the fall of the Iron Curtain.
Germany is also expected to totally miss its 2020 reductions target of 40%. So it’s peculiar that the country’s leaders would think it’s fitting to go around lecturing others on climate protection.
US in fact has far outperformed Germany
The real progress on CO2 reductions has in fact come the USA (thanks to fracking), and here we are not talking pocket change. The following chart shows how much US CO2 emissions have fallen: from 6 billion tonnes of CO2 annually to under 5.3 billion tonnes in 2015.
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review, via here.
This means the US has cut carbon dioxide emissions by over 700 million tonnes since 2005 – a 12% drop. That drop almost amounts to Germany’s total annual CO2 emissions (796 million tonnes).
Election year bashing
To keep things in perspective, it’s important to remember that it’s an election year in Germany, and right now there is a race to see who can bash America and its democratically elected President the most.
And now that German leaders and media have grown tired of bashing Russia, Turkey, Great Britain, Hungary, Poland, Greece, etc. they now feel compelled to go after the United States, its President, and especially the deplorable Americans who elected him. Not surprising Germany is having a row with a host of countries. Also read GWPF post here.
Intolerant to other views
Germany’s leaders and elitist class indeed have a difficult time accepting views that differ from their own. And when it comes to German politics, throwing the baby out with the bath water has a long tradition. The truth here is that it is perhaps Germany that is not a reliable partner, and not the other way around.
You might have to take a long afternoon nap or have a giant cup of coffee before watching the season-seven finale of "Game of Thrones" later this summer. According to Watchers on the Wall, the finale episode of the beloved HBO series' latest season will be a record-breaking 81 minutes long.
Quite a few epsiodes in the shortened season will be longer than we've seen in the past, with all but one reportedly being well over 50 minutes long. The sixth and penultimate episode of the season will be 71 minutes long.
This isn't the first time "Game of Thrones" has done long episodes, but an 81-minute one is the longest, next to the season-six finale, "The Winds of Winter," which was 68 minutes long. And the creators packed a lot of death (and other things) into that one.
A lot can happen in 13 minutes on any TV show, especially "Game of Thrones." We're hoping for 13 minutes of Lady Mormont yelling at Littlefinger, but it will probably just be even more death. Season seven premieres with a 59-minute episode on July 16.