top Google Kills Orkut To Focus On YouTube, Blogger and Google+
Larry Page says to Sergey Brin: "Hey Sergey, did you know that Orkut has ten million Brazillian users?"
Sergey looks puzzled, then says "Larry, remind me again how many is a brazillion..."
top Operation Wants To Mine 10% of All New Bitcoins
A bitcoin is a unit of measurement. It's no more meaningful to ask what a bitcoin looks like than to ask what a centimeter (or an inch) looks like.
The global shared ledger of the Bitcoin system, the "block chain", holds transactions. Each transaction contains inputs and outputs. All inputs must be valid outputs of a previous transaction. Inputs and outputs have a size specified in bitcoins (with the base unit being 0.00000001 bitcoin, also known as a "satoshi"). All outputs are labelled with a bitcoin receiving address, which is the hash of a public key. The receiving address was generated by the holder of the corresponding private key, who can spend the corresponding output as the input to a new transaction.
A miner collects unprocessed transactions and attempts to get them accepted into the block chain. By consensus (enforced through software), each block is accepted if accompanied by a valid hash whose value is less than a certain limit. Miners compete against each other to be first to find a suitable hash for a new block, because each block is allowed to include a reward for the miner. The reward is a freshly minted output.
The consensus (enforced through software) is that the block reward halves approximately every 4 years, such that the total bitcoins issued will asymptotically approach a fixed maximum of 21 million. Currently the reward is 25 bitcoins per block.
The threshold for a valid hash adjusts approximately every 10 days to ensure that new blocks are produced approximately every ten minutes. This is expressed as the "difficulty factor", and will rise as more hashing power joins the network.
top Mathematician: Is Our Universe a Simulation?
You are right of course, and I stand corrected. The universe is seriously big!
top Mathematician: Is Our Universe a Simulation?
Diameter of the observable universe is 10e26 meters.
Planck length is just over 10e-35 meters.
Therefore, 61 bits per dimension is enough to represent everything we can see. Add a few bits for various flags, and it fits nicely into a 64 bit register.
top Watch Steve Jobs Demo the Mac, In 1984
It's tough to describe how space-age that stuff was in the 1980s
They were amazing times. I remember having my mind blown by a demonstration of the Apple Lisa in 1983.
In this video, when they show the Paint program, listen to the gasps of wondrous amazement when the "eraser" tool is demonstrated.
top Flattr Adds Support For Funding In Bitcoin
I'd love to use bitcoin more but I'm having a hard time getting any
An easy way to get bitcoins is to sell your second-hand stuff for bitcoins at
top Interview: Ask Jimmy Wales What You Will
When will Wikipedia accept Bitcoin donations?
top Length of Applause Not Tied To Quality of Presentation
When I was in my teens, I was watching a circus. Between every act, a cleaner with a broom and a garbage bag would clear any detritus from the ring.
After a few acts, I clapped this guy, just for a laugh. To my surprise, everyone else joined in. From that point on, until the end of the show, the cleaner got rapturous applause every time!
top Timothy Lord Discovers the Good Night Lamp at CES (Video)
This product is significant because it will be the first online appliance that most non-geeks will discover.
After people get used to the Good Night Lamp, they won't bat an eyelid when their car tweets that it has just received a parking ticket (and by the way, the front left tire is half-flat). They'll take it in good stride when their refrigerator emails to say that it is shutting down unless the six-month-old lump of rotting blue cheese is removed by midnight.
People will expect their toothpaste tube to order the next tube to be delivered just in time, and won't be surprised if the park bench posts a YouTube video of their fat ass sitting on it.
about a year and a half ago
top New Call For Turing Pardon
Parliament can and should come out and say "Many years ago, our country adopted laws and policies which we now know were morally wrong. We apologize for those acts. We cannot undo all of the wrong that was done, but this is what we are doing:
repealing all laws against victimless crimes, and releasing everyone currently imprisoned for victimless crimes
Fixed it for you!
top The Scourge of Error Handling
But even in exception-based languages there is still a lot of code that tests returned values to determine whether to carry on or go down some error-handling path
The key to taming exceptions is to use them differently. Any exception that escapes a method means that the method has failed to meet its specification, and therefore you will need to clean up and abort at some level in the call chain. But you don't need to catch at every level (unless your language forces you to), nor should you need to do anything that relies on the "meaning" of the exception. Instead, you take a local action: close a file, roll back the database, prompt the user to save or abandon, etc, and either re-throw or not according to whether you have restored normality. There will only be a few places in your app where this type of cleanup is needed.
If you're not doing it this way, you're using exceptions as a control structure, and that's never going to be clean.
top Sandy Island, the Undiscovered Country
Another reason to prefer OpenStreetMap. There's no pressure for contributors to add fake map features in the name of copyright enforcement.
top What "Earth-Shaking" Discovery Has Curiosity Made on Mars?
My guess is that they have found levels of Carbon 14 higher than we can currently explain without living organisms.
That's not quite the same as finding life, but it would be pretty exciting to a scientist.
top Wayback Machine Trumps FOI Tribunal
I love how the list of attendees includes Jon Plowman, Head of Comedy.
top Slashdot Asks: Beating the Summer Heat?
To beat the summer heat, turn off your Bitcoin mining rigs. If you turn on the air conditioning to compensate, it's going to cost you more electricity than the value of the Bitcoins that you generate.
top NASA To Future Lunar Explorers: Don't Mess With Our Moon Stuff
Heh, it would be quite a coup for a less-than-friendly space-faring nation to bring back to earth the Apollo 11 lunar lander (descent stage) as a "trophy"!
top Jimmy Wales Backs UK Government Bid To Free Academic Data
If the government really wanted tax-funded information to be free, they would just declare that it was public domain. Society would find a way to disseminate that information at zero cost to the taxpayer.
Instead, this looks like a bureaucratic project designed to take years and absorb lots of taxpayer's money, while giving the illusion of making information nominally "free" but retaining control, and giving Jimmy a high-profile ego-stroke in the hope that he may moderate his objection to internet censorship.
top Spanish Company Tests 'Right To Be Forgotten' Against Google
That's right. People tend to do stuff that they know. Those who learn history seem to be doomed to repeat it.
Those who learn underlying principles, rather than study individual historic instances, end up having the tools they need to do things better the next time round.
top Major Bitcoin Exchange Ceases Operation
... have long since turned their fake bitcoins into real spendable dollars
public blockchain shows that the majority of coins generated in Bitcoin's first year have not moved.
top Predictions of the Future...From the 1960s
in a children's book. Google as predicted in 1964
ribuck has no journal entries.