Archive | November, 2013

The Bitcoin Bubble, Or Is It? Two Charts, Historical Price Movement, and the Conspiracy

via chycho

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I wish I wasn’t making this post and I hope I’m wrong. I love the concept of Bitcoin and the prospect of the decentralization of power brought about by the introduction of “an open source peer-to-peer electronic money and payment network” and the inevitable collapse of fiat currencies that are controlled by central banks which are in the business of transferring wealth from main street to Wall Street.

I’ve been tracking bitcoin for almost three years, since it was trading for less than a dollar. I even mined it a little a couple of years ago and recommended friends to buy them. Now that bitcoin has breached $1,200 and counting, would I still be giving it a buy recommendation? Absolutely not. Would I be recommending friends to keep most of their bitcoins at these valuations? Absolutely not. I would be telling them to sell almost all of their holdings, letting 1% ride.

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Black Friday Isn’t Even the Best Day to Get a “Deal”

dawn_of_the_dead_1978_404_303_photos121This won’t be news to most disinfonauts, but here are some details you can share with your less informed friends and family.  Tiffany Hsu writes at the Los Angeles Times:

As the hardiest of shoppers prepare for the annual Black Friday consumption frenzy, many are convinced it’s their one shot at a great deal.

But “that’s not even close to the truth,” said Matthew Ong, senior retail analyst at online personal finance company NerdWallet Inc. Bargain hunters can — and, in some cases, should — avoid the Black Friday weekend crush, several experts said. Many characterize the shopping bonanza as an expertly marketed ploy to capitalize on shoppers’ fear of missing out. By dangling a small batch of irresistible savings, stores land hordes of hopeful shoppers all scheming to score the retail version of Willy Wonka’s golden ticket. Yet only a tiny percentage of customers end up with the most desirable deals.
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Save Reverend Billy (From JP Morgan & The U.S. Government)

Reverend Billy. Photo: David Shankbone (CC)

Reverend Billy. Photo: David Shankbone (CC)

Every New Yorker’s favorite evangelical preacher, the Reverend Billy Talen (of the Church of Stop Shopping) is facing a year in prison for protesting against JP Morgan’s financing of fossil fuels, reports Democracy Now:

For more than a decade, Reverend Billy, along with his Church of Stop Shopping, has preached fiery sermons against recreational consumerism — and more recently, against climate disaster. You can often find them greeting the crush of shoppers at Macy’s in New York City on Black Friday. That may not be the case this year. That is because in September, Rev. Billy was arrested after staging a 15-minute musical protest at a JPMorgan Chase bank in Manhattan to highlight the bank’s environmental record and the extinction of a Central American golden toad. He now faces a year in prison for misdemeanor charges of riot in the second degree, menacing in the third degree, unlawful assembly and two counts of disorderly conduct.

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Searching For the Coyote Totem

CoyoteinacanoeI came into this world as a throwback and a cultural bastard child. I had a deep yearning to connect with the other living things around me, yet no indigenous traditions to follow. I may never find an Indian Shaman to mentor me into ancient mysteries. Like a feral cat or an escaped hog, I need to let my instincts and ancestral wisdom come to of themselves as I enter the wild. I glean what native wisdom I can find. The traditional home of the coyote is the Southwestern deserts and the great plains, yet they are invading the Forests of the North, learning to hunt deer as they come to occupy a niche left by the wolf. They seem to stand with one foot on the former domain of the wolf and one foot on a new niche they found for themselves, living on the edge of civilization. They walk a new path.… Read the rest

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A Pre-Conspiracy Theory

Obama Nobel Peace Prize 2009 Harry Wad2Veteran journalist Dave Lindorff asks “What if our premature Nobel Laureate President’s having a ’63-style Kennedy moment?” at Counterpunch:

I’m going to engage here in a thought experiment which may make some readers a little queasy, but bear with me.

It’s been half a century since the wrenching experience of having a charismatic young president cut down by bullets in what most Americans apparently still believe was a dark conspiracy by elements of the US government unhappy with the direction he was taking the country in international affairs.

Certainly powerful people like ex-CIA Director Allen Dulles and some of the nation’s top generals, not to mention executives of what prior President Dwight D. Eisenhower had labeled the military industrial complex were outraged that in his third year in office Kennedy was trying to dial back the Cold War, to reduce or even end the threat of actual nuclear war, and that he was even thinking of pulling US troops out of Vietnam and of reaching some accommodation with Fidel Castro’s Cuba.

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Sony Files Patent For “SmartWig”

smartwigIf technology did not already make you feel insane enough, Engadget reports that Sony wants you to wear a wig that gives you GPS directions and vibrates when you receive an email:

Sony’s trying to patent what it calls a “SmartWig.” The application describes a standard wig that could “be made from horse hair, human hair, wool, feathers, yak hair or any kind of synthetic material,” with a circuit board hidden among those luscious locks.

That board can talk to a “second computing device” wirelessly — such as a phone or even a pair of smartglasses — and actuators embedded in the hairpiece could “provide tactile feedback to the user.” In other words, the wig could vibrate when you receive emails and the like. The wig-chip could also include GPS and an ultrasound transducer, with different regions buzzing to give navigation cues.

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The Tech Industry’s Plans To Fix Food Production

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From Modern Meadow

One of the wonderful but irritating qualities of the technology culture prevalent in Silicon Valley and various other wannabe Silcon Somethings is the attitude that its engineers can fix everything wrong with the world. Joscelin Cooper, part of that very culture, describes how some of the Valley’s finest have turned to the world’s food crisis, writing at VentureBeat:

The technology industry can have an important impact on fixing the food system both by inventing new systems and infrastructure to reduce food waste, and ensuring that healthy, affordable food is widely available. Here are a few people and programs making a difference:

Invest in fake meat

Khosla Ventures has invested in numerous food-tech projects to create healthier foods that reduce the environmental impact of heavy meat consumption. As people in developing nations become more affluent, demand for meat products has gone up. However, the planet cannot sustain this growing market. Around 15 percent of the planet’s greenhouse gases are produced by livestock farming.

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The Native Americans Thought That The Pilgrims Were Filthy, Irritating and Incompetent

Thanksgiving_SquantoThe Native American delegation who met with the pilgrims found them barely tolerable, but were more than happy to trade the beat-up old furs they used as blankets for useful trade goods.

Via Smithsonian Magazine:

On March 22, 1621, a Native American delegation walked through what is now southern New England to meet with a group of foreigners who had taken over a recently deserted Indian settlement. At the head of the party was an uneasy triumvirate: Massasoit, the sachem (political-military leader) of the Wampanoag confederation, a loose coalition of several dozen villages that controlled most of southeastern Massachusetts; Samoset, sachem of an allied group to the north; and Tisquantum, a distrusted captive, whom Massasoit had brought along only reluctantly as an interpreter.

Massasoit was an adroit politician, but the dilemma he faced would have tested Machiavelli. About five years before, most of his subjects had fallen before a terrible calamity.

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