Buying Bitcoin, A Personal Adventure — With all the talk about bitcoin we decided to buy some.
We enrolled at Localbitcoins. com being guided there from Bitcoin.org, a well-established site where you can also find information about the cryptocurrency.
We found a seller, Georgia-based Swift-Bitcoin, and accepted an offer of about $100 at an exchange rate of $11,276.62 per bitcoin.
Getting the coin required us to take a photo — no scan accepted– of our drivers license and send it to the seller. He thought the first one was fuzzy and made us take another. We then had to make a cash deposit at a Bank of America according to his instructions, write “No Refunds” on the receipt, and send him a a photo of the receipt next our face.
He then released our purchase and we are now proud owners of about .009 bitcoin.
Remember, bitcoin is not meant to be an investment, albeit it’s probably not a bad one right now. It’s designed as a medium of exchange with an intrinsic value set digitally and kept true by a cryptography-secured public ledger (blockchain). Just about all government-issued money in the world — including the United States — is “fiat” which means the value is arbitrarily determined by a government or government-connected bank.
Lamar Smith Swirls To Retirement — Sometimes it seems as though the swamp isn’t draining but it is. Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Tx21), chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, has announced that he won’t be seeking re-election after 16 terms in office.
For some of Smith’s (not-so) great accomplishments that we have recorded on these pages click here and here.
God Proved By Computer Program — There is a certain type that insists science requires a disbelief in God.
One thing about which we have become certain is that God has a great sense of humor.
Kurt Gödel was an Austrian mathematician and a good friend of Albert Einstein, who like Einstein fled Nazi Europe for New Jersey and became Americans. Einstein always thought that Gödel was the brains of the duo.
Gödel developed a logic-based proof of God’s existence over the course of decades.
Since 2013, computer scientists Christoph Benzmüller of Berlin’s Free University and Bruno Woltzenlogel Paleo of the Technical University in Vienna have been addressing Gödel’s proof with software.
Brave Web Browser Now Default — We have been experimenting with the Brave web browser for the last two months and have just made it our default replacing Firefox.
Brave is free and open sourced and is based on the Chromium engine.
It is the project of Brendan Eich who, in 2014, was chased by the self-proclaimed defenders of tolerance from the Mozilla Foundation that he co-founded. Eich had contributed $1,000 to California Proposition 8 that held only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. That made him a bad man in the eyes of holier-than-thou progressives.
Prop 8 easily won but was deemed unconstitutional by activist judges.
Among the Mozilla products is Firefox.
Anyway, Brave is much faster than Firefox and doesn’t seem to slow to the point where a restart of the program is required as has been our experience with the Fox. It also appears more respectful of privacy than Google Chrome.
A prominent British Bitcoin developer blogged last week that the potentially revolutionary concept is dead.
“Despite knowing that Bitcoin could fail all along, the now inescapable conclusion that it has failed still saddens me greatly,” wrote Mike Hearn, who was the Bitcoin guru at Google before becoming the Bitcoin guru with Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.
Bitcoin is a currency based on a digital ledger rather than a commodity like gold or the “full faith and credit” of a government. It has no central authority. It has been steadily growing in acceptance since its unveiling in 2009.
Hearn writes the the Bitcoin system can’t move money, has unpredictable fees, allows buyers to take back payments after obtaining goods and is controlled by China.
A vicious blow-up last summer involving death threats and malware attacks between factions led by Hearn and California programmer Gregory Maxwell, an open-source advocate, prompted Hearn’s post of doom.
“Traditionally, members of the House of Representatives have been presented with a limited plate of options when choosing technology to run their offices and manage their web presences. Members that wanted to take advantage of open source solutions — which are restriction-free, reusable and frequently more cost-effective — faced significant uncertainty and were pushed towards a small selection of proprietary options.”
Sunlight says that the impending launch of the Open Source Caucus is an indication that things are changing.