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Economics

This category contains 13 posts

An anti-hacker puzzle

Following on from my previous post … Here’s a simple puzzle challenge. The SHA256 hashing algorithm (see earlier post: Immutable data) converts any string of text (integers or letters) into a (near) unique 64 character long string of numbers and letters. Using this algorithm the string “301253” (someone’s birthdate) translates to the string of characters … Continue reading

Why hackers have to work hard

A 4 digit mechanical combination lock is designed so that a person trying to break into your locker (a padlock hacker) would have to try on average 5,000 combinations (104/2). That’s about 2-5 hours work, which is a big investment in time, and by the time the hacker exhausts all iterations he or she may … Continue reading

Immutable data

An application on the exorbin.com website can convert any block of data into a near unique 64 character string of characters. Fun with SHA256 So “abc” converts to ba7816bf8f01cfea414140de5dae2223b00361a396177a9cb410ff61f20015ad My name, “Richard Coyne”, converts to ba7c5c9e90f05540084e798effd0389b60ec98677662017065d34a0b880778a7 Here’s some Shakespeare “To be, or not to be — that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to … Continue reading

Dark web anonymity

I downloaded a bitcoin wallet to my smartphone on 3 July 2017, and filled it with £100 of bitcoin procured via my debit card. The transaction cost £3. A bank transfer would have been free, but I was in a hurry. (With currency fluctuations, and 3 weeks later, my wallet today contains £110.19. So I … Continue reading

Wasting time in the bit economy

One way to demonstrate your wealth is to show how much free time you have. Freed from the drudgery required to keep fed, secure and comfortable, the wealthy have time on their hands to sit around in coffee shops, take long holidays, indulge in unprofitable hobbies, and acquire esoteric skills and affectations that are surplus … Continue reading

Digital money

Digital money attempts to keep financial transactions reliable and trustworthy without the need for a bank. To achieve this it does two things that computer networks do well: distribute and encrypt. If I create a painting then it’s a one off. If I sell it then I pass on ownership of the painting to the … Continue reading

Why experts are better than algorithms

Why are experts inferior to algorithms? This is the question posed by Daniel Kahneman in his influential book Thinking Fast and Slow. Kahneman argues that in many cases mechanical procedures provide better decisions than human experts, a view that ostensibly challenges the tenets of philosophical hermeneutics. The hermeneutical thesis is that expert judgement involves taking a … Continue reading

Delayed gratification

Children have been known to run up huge debts on their parents’ credit cards (Guardian). Neither parent nor child realized that the modest one-off cost of the game is supplemented by subsequent purchases of game components and privileges. There’s an issue here of game publishers unfairly, though perhaps inadvertently, benefiting from the tendency amongst  children to … Continue reading

Cooperation or complicity

According to Karl Marx “crime must not be punished in the individual, but the anti-social source of crime must be destroyed” (p.154). Liberal democracies modify this to something like: crime must not only be punished in the individual, but the social sources of crime must be held to account. So the liberal press directs anger … Continue reading

Making friends

People don’t attract enemies. Nor do they collect them. They make enemies. Enemies aren’t out there, pre-existing, like wasps or storm clouds. Enemies are manufactured by our actions and circumstances. It takes a concerted effort to surround yourself with enemies. Enemies are like friends in this respect. We make friends. We would probably not ask, … Continue reading

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