Tag: bitcoin

Episode 072 – Understanding High Dynamic Range Video

We’re going to talk about potential uses for that spare Mac mini you have sitting around, how much I hate to love my new phone, solar roof sales are…through the roof (deal with it), Intel and AMD’s new CPU architectures, converting 80 years of film to HDR, I’m not a millionaire, two deathwatch discussions, Today I Learned and more!

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Aye yai yai, it’s AI! Show #052

Today we’ll discuss creatine, polling, blockchain, HyperLoop, earthquakes, AI, along with our regular features of content we like and today we learned.

I am Ethan Banks @ecbanks and staring creepily at me as if he’s either hungry or in a murderous rage is Eric Sutphen @zutfen.

So, Eric. We’ve both been bemoaning what physical exercise is doing to our fat selves. But you’ve run into creatine. And it’s a thing?

Body tech: creatine


  • What is it? A “nitrogenous organic acid produced in the liver.” It’s for supplying energy to cells, muscle cells especially.
  • Train harder.
  • Push out more reps. Obtain stronger musculature.
  • Eric uses it. So, take that non-believers, or we will shun you!

How did the pollsters get it so wrong?


  • Trump is the President-elect, but the polls strongly predicted HRC.
  • It’s about sample set.
  • Polling of humans is not an exact science. Because humans.
  • CAPTCHA is contributing to a sample set.

What’s so great about blockchain technology?



  • “A blockchain is a ledger of records arranged in data batches called blocks that use cryptographic validation to link themselves together. Put simply, each block references and identifies the previous block by a hashing function, forming an unbroken chain, hence the name.”
  • It’s distributed. Everyone participating in this blockchain has access to the same ledger. Thus, everyone can see the same chain of events. Everyone knows what happened all the way through the chain.
  • Because of the hashing, you can’t tamper with the chain. Messing with one of the blocks would cause a validation failure. The hashing algorithm in the next block would compute a different hash than should be there if the block had not been tampered with.
  • Blockchain is the foundation of Bitcoin. Controlled by no one. Can’t be tampered with.
  • Compute intensive. Lots of machines doing lots of calculations.
  • Applications beyond currency. Any sort of record keeping could be based on blockchain.
  • “The distributed ledger makes it easier to create cost-efficient business networks where virtually anything of value can be tracked and traded—without requiring a central point of control.”

HyperLoop One is moving forward in Dubai



  • Nevada: DevLoop prototype is being built
  • 3 years ago this was just a white-paper, but now it’s actually taking form
  • The goal of DevLoop is to build a fully scaled test loop to test the safety and stability of both the track and the pod system at a speed of 1,126 kph which they are calling their “Kitty Hawk Moment”
  • At the same time, Hyperloop One is in talks with the Dubai Transit Authority to build out a HyperLoop between Dubai and Abu Dhabi a distance of around 125 km
  • Travel time by bus is about two hours currently
  • Hyperloop claims they can get that down to about 12 minutes
  • But wait, there’s more! Call now for your free one year supply!
  • One of the goals is to be a first-mile to last-mile transit solution, too. Not just arrive at a station and queue up for a seat in a pod.
  • A smaller pod will actually come to you, autonomously drive you to the hyperloop entry point, connect to other hyperloop pods inside of a larger pod and then you will fire off at 1,100 kph, arrive at the other end of the hyperloop, your pod will disjoin, disembark and drive you to your destination.
  • The terminals for embarking / disembarking are being called HyperLoop Portals
  • A bit Voltron, a bit Jetsons.
  • It all still sounds like scifi to me, but based on some information released by CEO Rob Lloyd, they may be aiming for a 2021 maiden voyage.

What the frack is going on with all these earthquakes?


  • You don’t think of Oklahoma when you think of earthquake zones.
  • But hey. We figured out how to cause them. Sorta.
  • Oklahoma is injecting “wastewater into deep disposal wells.” The wastewater is a byproduct of conventional gas and oil extraction — water comes up with the oil.
  • How to deal with this polluted water? Send it back down into the ground is about the cheapest way.
  • That is triggering earthquakes in old faults underneath north and central Oklahoma. Seems to be the added water pressure.
  • Oklahoma is going to scale back on the water injections now, to reduce the potential future damage to towns like Cushing, where a 5.0 magnitude quake did damage to 40 downtown buildings.
  • My friend Tom lives in Norman, OK. He said he felt the 5.0 roughly 80 miles away. He thought his kids were moving his chair. Yup.

Your boss the AI


  • The premise here is that AI will make decisions for businesses, so that human employees can focus on more creative endeavors. This sort of echos a bit of the sample size / machine learning stuff we talked about at the top of the show.
  • At the Lisbon Web Summit, the CIO of Volkswagen (Martin Hofmann) says that the “robotic enterprise” is closer than most realize, with some roles ready to be performed completely by machine learning and AI.
  • He says that they follow a staged implementation based upon an outline used in the development of automated driving tech.
  1. Manual: All business decisions are made by humans.
  2. Assisted: AI offers recommendations based on business data analytics and algorithms, but human operators make the call.
  3. Semi-automated: Artificial intelligence makes the decisions, but human operators are needed to confirm before any changes are made.
  4. Highly-automated: Routine tasks are fully made by AI systems.
  5. Fully automated: All business decisions are made by artificial intelligence and humans have no say.
  • No company has successfully achieved stage 4 or 5, but Hofmann believes that it is feasible with neural networking, ML, and AI that we can get to that point in the relatively near future.
  • Meantime they will continue to use machine learning to recognize and respond to trends in markets and so forth, ultimately with the AI making team assignment decisions, time planning and document management.
  • He does offer a caveat of “We will need to train people in higher and more creative things,” Hoffman says. “I also believe humans should never get always out of the game — we should be the final instance to make the final decision, not an algorithm.”

Content I Like

Socratica (Youtube Channel)


  • Learn about white dwarf stars, black holes, neutron stars, Chemistry, abstract Algebra, Python programming, art, calculus
  • There’s also Socratica Kids as well as French, Spanish, German and Portuguese

Today I Learned

Nearly all celestial bodies in our solar system, including the Sun, rotate counter clockwise. Except Venus (clockwise, slowly) and Uranus (on its side). “Not only do all of the rocky planets revolve counterclockwise around the Sun, and not only do all of the gas giant planets revolve counterclockwise around the Sun, but something like 99% of the known asteroids, kuiper belt objects, and comets also revolve counterclockwise around the Sun!”