09 December 2017

A Bit of a Problem

Bitcoin's tulip bubble price rise is in the news of late. While mentioned before, some points bear repeating, therefore.

1 - bitcoin, unless those in control change their minds, has a 21 million unit fixed limit. Recent reporting puts total mined ~17 million.
2 - bitcoin availability (per unit time) is halved every 4 years, approximately.
3 - the cost/amount of electricity needed to mine is going up extremely non-linearly.

Put them together, and what do we get? For one thing, some in the techno-geek world think the instant deflation that would ensue when all bitcoin have been mined (again, assuming that the powers that be don't bump the size of the lode) is a good thing. Given the asymptote situation, below, we may get the effect long before all bitcoin are mined.
Once all 21 million bitcoins have been mined, the supply cannot increase — regardless of growing demand. The result of this discrepancy between the supply of and demand for money is a steady and gradual decrease in the general price level, which equates to an equally steady and gradual increase in the purchasing power of money. Therefore, as Bitcoin miners collect transaction fees over time, no matter how large or minute, the funds gain value.

Even math oriented econ types know that deflation is not a benign experience.

Put another way, bitcoin is near/at the flat plane of its asymptote:
It is quite interesting to think about how far bitcoin has come since its inception. With a hard limit of 21 million BTC to be generated by 2140, a lot of people assume there are still a lot of coins to be mined for the next few years. While that is true up to a certain extent, we are getting closer to 80% of the finite supply being brought into circulation already. Said milestone will take place roughly 365 days from now [now being 1 February 2017].

The point being, if you do some back of the napkin arithmetic, that halving the number of new bitcoin/unit time, means you get to really sparse supply for way most of the time they're available. Remember that old conundrum: "if you step half-way to a wall, how many steps does it take to get to the wall? Infinity. And you never get there."

Some have ascribed the recent explosion in bitcoin $$$ value to creeping towards the end of supply. Could be. But, since the rule is to limit, in current period, the number of bitcoin released no matter the number/compute-power-used of miners (and that number is supposed to decrease on a published schedule: halved, appx. each 4 years and that hasn't happened this year), that seems unlikela. The improvement of compute power is also subject to the asymptote of progress, as the ability to create more compute cheaper as we near the limit of node size wanes. Either way, the bubble has been going bonkers recently. At least with gold, it doesn't get harder (mostly) as one empties the lode. The lode just goes dry all at once.

Imagine if we'd spent the money educating the spawn of the Red states, instead? They'd know better than to elect those out to make their lives worse.

If nothing else, bitcoin proves the foolishness of "store of value" in useless "things", including gold. Unless, of course, you want catastrophic (for the 99%, naturally) deflation. Just look at 19th century USofA. Mostly in recession or depression. The Garden of Eden of Freedom.

And it's not trivial to note that security of virtual money may well be (IMHO, is) much less than real. Yes, central banks can debase their paper money by printing with abandon, but that's a purposeful act. Hacking away data, on the other hand, isn't from the point of view of the money. You don't need a fleet of 18-wheelers to spirit away billions of virtual bucks the way you would real bucks or gold. And given the mono-culture that pervades the innterTubes, I expect we'll see yet more of it.

07 December 2017

You Don't See This Every Day

Yes, you don't:
In the trial, treatment for 14 days with SAGE-217 was associated with a statistically significant mean reduction in the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D) 17-Item total score from baseline to Day 15 (the time of the primary endpoint) of 17.6 points for SAGE-217, compared to 10.7 for placebo (p<0.0001).
[my emphasis]

Now, that's a p-value to love.

06 December 2017

New VT-220

Gentle reader has seen here the epithet, New Gold, referring to the US Buck and its effect on all things data. Well, all things in the end. Long ago, in the first essays here, gentle reader was offered the notion that Organic Normal Form™ databases and high bandwidth innterTubes connectivity mean a return to the thrilling days of yesteryear: the central host with all the data and logic over a wire to a (semi?) dumb terminal (VT-220 as example). The real question is whether networks/servers/engines can, in fact, support thousands+ of persistent connections. If so, then just call me Marty McFly. OLTP, modulo Amazon, why yes. Yes, of course.

So, today's news of Always Connected PC battle may mean just that. And I couldn't be happier. The revenge of RDBMS and 5th NF.

04 December 2017

The US of Mississippi

During the fiasco of the Leona Helmsley Memorial Tax Cut for the 1%, I heard some Red State Congressman answer the question about why remove SALT deductions with the bill, which would disproportionately hurt Blue States. His reply was that may be such states shouldn't tax so much. IOW, the whole country should be just like Mississippi: uneducated, unskilled, unhealthy, but God fearing and multiplying like rats. Such a model worked in the 19th century plantation South. Not so much today.

Let's consider what that situation might mean. If you look at this graph, you can see that the Red States all lag the national average in per capita GDP. Not only would the "average" go from $50,000 to $31,000 (that's a 40% drop), but it also means that said Red states lose their market.

Back before the Civil War, there was Bleeding Kansas, what most historians consider the real beginning of the Civil War. It pitted Free Soilers in the soon-to-be state of Kansas against Slavers. The Kansans understood that slaves were cheaper farm help than Freemen, so they went to war over it. The exact same effort is going on now: the Red State Slavers, aka Republicans, intend to impose their model on the rest of us. Since the US Buck is New Gold, even if they win, they lose; who will buy?

03 December 2017

Minority Report, part the fifth

In the continuing saga of creeping dictatorship, we finally get j'accuse from the likes of the American Enterprise Institute.
The failure of Republican members of Congress to resist the anti-democratic behavior of President Trump — including holding not a single hearing on his and his team's kleptocracy — is cringe-worthy. A few Republican senators have spoken up, but occasional words have not been matched by any meaningful deeds. Only conservative intellectuals have acknowledged the bankruptcy of the Republican Party.

So, yes Virgina, there is a USofA in your future. It's just all going to look like Mississippi. One wonders how the bible thumping Red Staters imagine they'll be able to sell all that stuff when there's no body in Blue States with any more moolah than they have. The Achilles heel of slave wage exporting autocracy is finding markets with currencies that are stable and (near?) par with its own. As these essays have said, and more recently so have some mainstream pundits described here, the US Buck is New Gold, so everybody else manages their currency to maximize against it. That's hard to do within the US of Mississippi.

According to a reporter (didn't note the name), the Senate is in the state (yes, a pun) where 40% of the population commands a super-majority. That's already minority rule. Better read your Bible.

02 December 2017

My, How Times Have Changed, Again

That didn't take long. AnandTech reports on Really Bigly DRAM.
The key advantage of 128 GB LRDIMMs is their density. For example, a dual-socket Xeon Scalable platform using the -M suffixed processors, featuring 12 memory slots, can expand the maximum memory size by 2X to 1.5 TB from 768 GB by using 128 GB LRDIMMs over 64 GB LRDIMMs. For DRAM-dependent applications, such as large databases, holding everything in memory is the most important thing for performance.
[my emphasis]

Not that I expect anyone's going to pay me enough to equip my development machine thusly. But still?? What the hell is wrong with 5NF at this point??

01 December 2017

Dirty Harry Speaks

"It's a tax bill for middle class"
-- Orange Julius Caesar

what it actually means
An updated Senate plan to overhaul the U.S. tax code could dramatically raise taxes on households earning between $10,000 to $30,000 starting in 2021, according to new findings released Thursday by the Joint Committee on Taxation.

But being this is a Billionaire's Tax Cut, the most powerful giveaway in the world and would blow your head clean off, you've gotta ask yourself one question: "Do I feel stupid?" Well, do ya, punk?
-- Dirty Donald/2017