Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Michael Nelson's Group On Archiving Twitter

The rise and fall of the Trump administration has amply illustrated the importance of Twitter in the historical record. Alas, Twitter has no economic motivation to cater to the needs of historians. As they work to optimize Twitter's user experience, the engineers are likely completely unaware of the problems they are causing the Web archives trying to preserve history. Even if they were aware, they would be unable to justify the time and effort necessary to mitigate them.

Over the last six months Michael Nelson's group at Old Dominion University have continued their excellent work to evaluate exactly how much trouble future historians will have to contend with in three new blog posts from Kritika Garg and Himarsha Jayanetti:
Below the fold, some commentary on each of them.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020


I have long been skeptical of Bitcoin's "price" and, despite its recent massive surge, I'm still skeptical. But it turns out I was wrong two years ago when I wrote in Blockchain: What's Not To Like?:
Permissionless blockchains require an inflow of speculative funds at an average rate greater than the current rate of mining rewards if the "price" is not to collapse. To maintain Bitcoin's price at $4K requires an inflow of $300K/hour.
I found it hard to believe that this much actual money would flow in, but since then Bitcoin's "price" hasn't dropped below $4K, so I was wrong. Caution — I am only an amateur economist, and what follows below the fold is my attempt to make sense of what is going on.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020


The architectural debate between Complex Instruction Set Computers (CISC) and Reduced Instruction Set Conputers (RISC) really took off in the 1980s:
In particular, two projects at Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley are most associated with the popularization of this concept. Stanford's MIPS would go on to be commercialized as the successful MIPS architecture, while Berkeley's RISC gave its name to the entire concept and was commercialized as the SPARC.
For the last decade or more the debate has seemed frozen, with the CISC x86 architecture dominating the server and desktop markets, while the RISC ARM architecture dominated the mobile market. But two recent developments are shaking things up. Below the fold, some discussion.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

737 MAX Ungrounding

My post 737 MAX: The Case Against Boeing is a year old and has accumulated 58 updates in comments. Now the aircraft is returning to service, it is time for a new post. Below the fold, Bjorn Fehrm has two interesting posts about the ungrounding.