Monday Reading: Wifi Barbie Is Coming For You

The resolution of the Bitcoin experiment

Developer Mike Hearn believes that Bitcoin is a failure because 1) the community is toxic, 2) improvements have ceased, in spite of reaching systematic limitations, 3) a lack of healthy communication.

"In the span of only about eight months, Bitcoin has gone from being a transparent and open community to one that is dominated by rampant censorship and attacks on bitcoiners by other bitcoiners. This transformation is by far the most appalling thing I have ever seen, and the result is that I no longer feel comfortable being associated with the Bitcoin community."

See also: Kellen Beck at Mashable.

Why too much evidence can be a bad thing


"If many independent witnesses unanimously testify to the identity of a suspect of a crime, we assume they cannot all be wrong," coauthor Derek Abbott, a physicist and electronic engineer at The University of Adelaide, Australia, told "Unanimity is often assumed to be reliable. However, it turns out that the probability of a large number of people all agreeing is small, so our confidence in unanimity is ill-founded. This 'paradox of unanimity' shows that often we are far less certain than we think."

"Under ancient Jewish law, if a suspect on trial was unanimously found guilty by all judges, then the suspect was acquitted. This reasoning sounds counterintuitive, but the legislators of the time had noticed that unanimous agreement often indicates the presence of systemic error in the judicial process, even if the exact nature of the error is yet to be discovered. They intuitively reasoned that when something seems too good to be true, most likely a mistake was made."

Concealing the Calculus of Higher Education

Do colleges intentionally hide their true cost of attendance? Seems deeply shameful to me.

"But to deliberately throw up roadblocks that prevent easy comparisons is to turn up an institution’s collective nose at anyone with even the mildest pecuniary concerns."

See also: College Abacus

Powerball and Zero Tolerance — Medium

Systematic incentives are also at play. I was a part of a group who tried to convert a public high school with declining enrollment into a science- & technology-focused regional high school. We had a serious chance with the New York State Board of Regents, but our application was ultimately denied once political lobbying set in. I believe it was the superintendent's union that tipped the scales against us, as their leader was spiking the football on Twitter while our kids were crying in the hallways.

"Our modern system of schooling is rooted in German 19th century pedagogical philosophy that is fundamentally unsuited for our world today."

The Anti-Trump Cavalry That Never Came

I am pretty depressed about the creatures that are running for our nation's highest office. But nothing frightens me as much as the game show host that may destroy the Republican Party.

"Yet, for a variety of reasons, major Republican donors and well-funded political groups have failed to fund a robust anti-Trump campaign, despite increasingly desperate pleas from some quarters of the GOP."

Exec fears predators can reach kids through new Barbie

Also depressing, this:

"In December, it was reported that hackers could modify the app of the Wi-Fi Barbie and gain access to confidential passwords and info."