Cryptocurrencies – Extra Credit Reading Assignment (Updated 12.01.22)

Cryptocurrencies are a social movement based on the belief that markings in a ledger on the internet have intrinsic value. The organizers of these ledgers call these markings Bitcoin, or Dogecoin, or offer other names based on the specific ledger. That’s really all a cryptocurrency is. There’s no magic. It’s not money, though it has money-like properties. It’s not anything except a set of markings. Sure, the technology behind the ledgers and how to create more of these markings is kind of neat. But crypto is a movement based on energetic storytellers who spin fables about the utopian future to come. In a lot of ways, cryptocurrencies are like Florida land that no one ever intends to use. It has value in the moment it is traded, but only because there’s a collective belief that it has some intrinsic worth.

Matt Stoller BIG newsletter 12.07.21 — https://mattstoller.substack.com/

FTX seems to be a textbook example of how many investors are easily hoodwinked by media narratives about the latest investment genius who has magically discovered some new way of delivering unprecedented returns. 

How Easy Money Fueled the FTX Crypto Collapse – https://mises.org/wire/how-easy-money-fueled-ftx-crypto-collapse

Good book. It should be required reading for everyone before they invest a single penny.

Update 12.01.22

One more extra credit reading assignment. FTX’s Collapse Was a Crime, Not an Accident

Alexa – Lock All The Doors, Delete Everything

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2022/03/attackers-can-force-amazon-echos-to-hack-themselves-with-self-issued-commands/
Echo go to Amazon buy everything.

Some days I’m very happy being old fashioned. I still need a key to open my front door. I have to open my refrigerator to see what’s inside. And Good God I have to manually select the music I want to listen too.

Some days I’m very happy being old fashioned. Today is one of those days.

Cryptocurrencies 101

Cryptocurrencies are a social movement based on the belief that markings in a ledger on the internet have intrinsic value. The organizers of these ledgers call these markings Bitcoin, or Dogecoin, or offer other names based on the specific ledger. That’s really all a cryptocurrency is. There’s no magic. It’s not money, though it has money-like properties. It’s not anything except a set of markings. Sure, the technology behind the ledgers and how to create more of these markings is kind of neat. But crypto is a movement based on energetic storytellers who spin fables about the utopian future to come. In a lot of ways, cryptocurrencies are like Florida land that no one ever intends to use. It has value in the moment it is traded, but only because there’s a collective belief that it has some intrinsic worth.

Matt Stoller BIG newsletter 12.07.21 — https://mattstoller.substack.com/

TBH I never really understood crypto until I read Stoller’s descriptive paragraph.

Now I understand this is something I will never “invest” my money in. Not that I ever intended to do that before today.

New Source For Jet Fuel



Researchers have developed an innovative way to convert plastics to ingredients for jet fuel and other valuable products, making it easier and more cost effective to reuse plastics. The researchers in their reaction were able to convert 90% of plastic to jet fuel and other valuable hydrocarbon products within an hour at moderate temperatures and to easily fine-tune the process to create the products that they want.

Washington State University. “New technology converts waste plastics to jet fuel in an hour.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/05/210517124937.htm (accessed May 18, 2021).

Yeah I know this has absolutely nothing to do with mortality risk but it was SO COOL I had to post it.

Smart Appliances Hacked – over 750k Malicious Emails Sent – SlashGear

A security service provider called Proofpoint has issued a report detailing what it believes to be the first documented attack on the Internet of Things. According to the report, over 750,000 malicious emails were sent out using over 100,000 compromised devices on the Internet of Things. The compromised devices include appliances, routers, TVs, and connected refrigerators.

via Smart appliances hacked to send out over 750k malicious emails – SlashGear.

You Are Not A Computer – HBR

The Internet, and all it has come to include, is the most powerful interruption technology ever invented. It slices and dices our focus, fractures and distracts it, gives us less and less of more and more. It prompts us to skim, scan, and skip rather than immerse ourselves in any one thing.

Technology has no business setting our agenda, but it has turned into our dominatrix. Masochistically — but all too willingly — we submit to it. Emailing, texting and tweeting, searching Google, checking Facebook, and surfing websites not only consumes our time and energy, it also diminishes our capacity to pay attention to anything for very long — or to resist the next digital temptation.

via You Are Not A Computer (Try As You May) – Tony Schwartz – Harvard Business Review.