Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Pew Research On Link Rot

Source
When Online Content Disappears by Athena Chapekis, Samuel Bestvater, Emma Remy and Gonzalo Rivero reports results from this research:
we collected a random sample of just under 1 million webpages from the archives of Common Crawl, an internet archive service that periodically collects snapshots of the internet as it exists at different points in time. We sampled pages collected by Common Crawl each year from 2013 through 2023 (approximately 90,000 pages per year) and checked to see if those pages still exist today.

We found that 25% of all the pages we collected from 2013 through 2023 were no longer accessible as of October 2023. This figure is the sum of two different types of broken pages: 16% of pages are individually inaccessible but come from an otherwise functional root-level domain; the other 9% are inaccessible because their entire root domain is no longer functional.
Their results are not surprising, but there are a number of surprising things about their report. Below the fold, I explain.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Fee-Only Bitcoin

Mining a Bitcoin block needs to be costly to ensure that the gains from an attack on the blockchain are less than the cost of mounting it. Miners have two sources of income to defray their costs, the block rewards and the fees for the transactions in the block.

On April 19th the block reward was halved from 6.25BTC to 3.125BTC. This process is repeated every 210,000 blocks (about every 4 years). It limits the issuance of BTC to 21M because around 2140 the reward will be zero; a halving will make it less than a satoshi.

Long before 2140 the block rewards will have shrunk to become insignificant compared to the fees. Below the fold I look at the significance of the change to a fee-only Bitcoin

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Elon Musk: Threat Or Menace? Part 5

Source
Much of this series has been based on the outstanding reporting of the Washington Post, and the team's Trisha Thadani is back with Lawsuits test Tesla claim that drivers are solely responsible for crashes. My main concern all along has been that Musk's irresponsible hyping of his flawed technology is not just killing his credulous customers, but much more seriously innocent bystanders who had no say in the matter. The article includes video of:
  • A driver who believed Autopilot could drive him home despite his being drunk. The car drove the wrong way on the highway and killed another innocent victim of Musk's hype.
  • Autopilot rear-ending a merging vehicle and killing another innocent victim, a 15-year-old.
  • Autopilot slamming into a broken down vehicle on the highway. When the Tesla driver left the wreck she was hit and killed by another car.
  • Autopilot speeding through a T-junction and crashing into a parked truck.
Below the fold I look into Tesla's results, Musk's response, the details revealed by the various lawsuits. and this excellent advice from Elon Musk:
"If somebody doesn’t believe Tesla is going to solve autonomy, I think they should not be an investor in the company."
Elon Musk, 24th April 2024