A recent story in Medium describes yet again quite well why blockchains don't solve any real problems: Blockchain is not only crappy technology but a bad vision for the future.
So what is their irresistible appeal?
Bitcoins remind me of a story from the late chair of the Princeton University astronomy department. In 1950 Immanuel Velikovsky published Worlds in Collision, a controversial best-selling book that claimed that 3500 years ago Venus and Mars swooped near the earth, causing catastrophes that were passed down in religions and mythologies.
The astronomer was talking to an anthropologist at a party, and the book came up.
"The astronomy is nonsense," said the astronomer, "but the anthropology is really interesting."
"Funny," replied the anthropologist, "I was going to say almost the same thing."
Bitcoin and blockchains lash together an unusual distributed database with a libertarian economic model.
People who understand databases realize that blockchains only work as long as there are incentives to keep a sufficient number of non-colluding miners active, preventing collusion is probably impossible, and that scaling blockchains up to handle an interesting transaction rate is very hard, but that no-government money is really interesting.
People who understand economics and particularly economic history understand why central banks manage their currencies, thin markets like the ones for cryptocurrencies are easy to corrupt, and a payment system needs a way to undo bogus payments, but that free permanent database ledger is really interesting.
Not surprisingly, the most enthusiastic bitcoin and blockchain proponents are the ones who understand neither databases nor economics.
The decision undermines the position of the mayor, the supervisors, and many of the city's communities, who have been frustrated by the Police Officers Association and its constant resistance to reasonable changes in department policies. But none of the city's elected leaders had any say in the final deal. [...]
The issue involves the concept of "meet and confer," which is in state labor law. Under union contracts, when management imposes changes to work rules, they have to give the union a chance to respond, and if necessary, challenge those changes.
Which is fair.
But the POA considers reforms in things like the Use of Force Policy to be issues that the city has to meet and confer over -- and that's a stretch at best. Those policies aren't work rules (like hours in a shift); they're life-and-death rules that are in the discretion of civilian policy makers. And the POA has consistently used "meet and confer" to delay or derail reforms.
In fact, the POA has argued that it has the right to demand arbitration over policy changes that have been outlined by the Obama-era Justice Department as best practices for the city.
The background, of course, is the long list of people, mostly young people of color, shot and killed by the SF cops over the past few years. Those killings forced the city to ask the Justice Department to come in and review what was happening at SFPD.
Its parent company Live Nation, has announced that the ticket sales giant has teamed up with and invested in a face recognition company called Blink Identity. In its first quarter financial report (PDF), Live Nation has explained that Blink has "cutting-edge facial recognition technology, enabling you to associate your digital ticket with your image, then just walk into the show." [...]
Further, if Ticketmaster collects data on facial recognition, then that's one more potential source for the government's surveillance efforts. It doesn't help that Blink spent a decade developing and deploying large scale biometric identification systems for the Department of Defense.
In the beginning, the rules of the space bar were simple. Two spaces after each period. Every time. Easy.
But then, at the end of the 20th century, the typewriter gave way to the word processor, and the computer, and modern variable-width fonts. And the world divided.
Some insisted on keeping the two-space rule. They couldn't get used to seeing just one space after a period. It simply looked wrong.
Some said this was blasphemy. The designers of modern fonts had built the perfect amount of spacing, they said.
And when you really get right down to it, aren't we being pretty closed-minded to accept the false dichotomy of "one space" versus "two space", when here in this bright future we have such a glorious manifold panoply of spacing possibilities?
- SPACE -- ' ' -- sometimes considered a control code
- NO-BREAK SPACE -- ' ' -- commonly abbreviated as NBSP
- ETHIOPIC WORDSPACE -- '፡'
- OGHAM SPACE MARK -- ' ' -- glyph is blank in "stemless" style fonts
- EN QUAD -- ' '
- EM QUAD -- ' ' -- mutton quad
- EN SPACE -- ' ' -- nut; half an em
- EM SPACE -- ' ' -- mutton; nominally, a space equal to the type size in points;may scale by the condensation factor of a font
- THREE-PER-EM SPACE -- ' ' -- thick space
- FOUR-PER-EM SPACE -- ' ' -- mid space
- SIX-PER-EM SPACE -- ' ' -- in computer typography sometimes equated to thin space
- FIGURE SPACE -- ' ' -- space equal to tabular width of a font; this is equivalent to the digit width of fonts with fixed-width digits
- PUNCTUATION SPACE -- ' ' -- space equal to narrow punctuation of a font
- THIN SPACE -- ' ' -- a fifth of an em (or sometimes a sixth)
- HAIR SPACE -- ' ' -- thinner than a thin space; in traditional typography, the thinnest space available
- ZERO WIDTH SPACE -- '' -- commonly abbreviated ZWSP; this character is intended for invisible word separation and for line break control; it has no width, but its presence between two characters does not prevent increased letter spacing in justification
- NARROW NO-BREAK SPACE -- ' ' -- commonly abbreviated NNBSP; a narrow form of a no-break space, typically the width of a thin space or a mid space
- MEDIUM MATHEMATICAL SPACE -- ' ' -- abbreviated MMSP; four-eighteenths of an em
- SYMBOL FOR SPACE -- '␠'
- BLANK SYMBOL -- '␢' -- graphic for space
- OPEN BOX -- '␣' -- graphic for space
- IDEOGRAPHIC SPACE -- ' '
- IDEOGRAPHIC HALF FILL SPACE -- '〿' -- visual indicator of a screen space for half of an ideograph
- ZERO WIDTH NO-BREAK SPACE -- '' -- BOM, ZWNBSP; may be used to detect byte order by contrast with the noncharacter code point U+FFFE; use as an indication of non-breaking is deprecated; see WORD JOINER instead
- TAG SPACE -- ''
I always type two spaces, though HTML hides that. It's what they taught me when I was pressing my Cuneiform reeds into the clay, and the habit was reinforced by the justification idiosyncrasy that M-j fill-paragraph-or-region does not break lines at a single space following a period so that mid-sentence abbreviations are never wrapped from the following word. Which is another thing that HTML hides.
But then, for decades I used to type double-quotes ``like this'' in English text because ASCII doesn't contain ““” and “””. I eventually gave up on that, but by that time I had developed such an abiding hatred of "smart" quotes that now I just use straight-up-and-down ASCII double quotes for everything.
Also, punctuation goes inside the quotation marks only if the punctuation is part of the thing being quoted, because that's proper scoping, and I'll die on that hill.