Assorted links for 11/15/2019

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1. How to turn the complex mathematics of vector calculus into simple pictures (science, MIT Technology Review)

2. In Data Journalism, Tech Matters Less Than the People (media, NYT)

3. Everything You Wanted to Know about Hazelnuts but Were Afraid to Ask (food, JSTOR)

4. The toxic killers in our air too small to see (health, BBC Futures)

5. Against Economics (book, The New York Review of Books)

Money and Government: The Past and Future of Economics by Robert Skidelsky (Yale University Press, 2018

#hashbased for week 45

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#hashbased is a blockchain innovation newsletter provided by, an OKA innovation brand

John Griffin and Amin Shams, authors of the 2018 article Is Bitcoin Really Un-Tethered? have dropped an update on SSRN. The article is worth reading. It has been heavily criticized on Twitter but some of the major conclusions and their implications have not been really addressed yet. We will see this paper being discussed for many weeks to come.

This paper investigates whether Tether, a digital currency pegged to the U.S. dollar, influenced Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency prices during the 2017 boom. Using algorithms to analyze blockchain data, we find that purchases with Tether are timed following market downturns and result in sizable increases in Bitcoin prices. The flow is attributable to one entity, clusters below round prices, induces asymmetric autocorrelations in Bitcoin, and suggests insufficient Tether reserves before month-ends. Rather than demand from cash investors, these patterns are most consistent with the supply-based hypothesis of unbacked digital money inflating cryptocurrency prices.

John M. Griffin, Amin Shams, Is Bitcoin Really Un-Tethered?

Worth Reading

“Dodgy energy deals, loose regulation, and dubious characters—with links to the Hillary Clinton email hackers—are fueling a burgeoning crypto industry that could provide an end run around US sanctions.”


Around Kuchurgan, under a web of pylons and electricity lines, plots of land are being readied for cryptocurrency miners to build industrial farms. In a news story aired on Transnistrian television, Chinese investors gawp at the size of the empty warehouses where their servers could soon be housed


This meme has been debunked by JP Koning: The life and death of an internet monetary meme


Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) released Singapore’s blockchain landscape map to “promote awareness and adoption of blockchain technology and to grow blockchain ecosystem in Singapore.

#hashbased is a blockchain innovation weekly newsletter provided by, an OKA innovation brand

Assorted links for 11/12/2019

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1. A natural biomolecule has been measured acting like a quantum wave for the first time (science, MIT Technology Review)

2. Can laboratories curb their addiction to plastic? (sustainability, The Guardian)

3. Saffron is the world’s most expensive spice. Why don’t we grow it ourselves? (food, The New Food Economy)

4. The Origins of the Police (society, JSTOR)

Assorted links for 11/07/2019

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1. Is CRISPR the Next Antibiotic? (healthcare, NYT)

2. Why We Need to Map the Ocean Floor (science, Nautilus)

3. ‘You sound worried’: would you let an AI rephrase the tone of your emails? (AI, The Guardian)

4. The Digital Dada Library (culture, Open Culture)

This is the final resting place of your cast-off clothing:

Assorted links for 11/06/2019

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1. A startup just announced the world’s first fake-meat “steaks” made from fungi. Are we ready? (new-food, The New Food Economy)

2. Tales From the Teenage Cancel Culture (new-culture, NYT)

3. Economic Incentives Don’t Always Do What We Want Them To (economics, NYT)

4. The Happy, Healthy Capitalists of Switzerland (society, NYT)

5. Environmental Challenges Ahead for Coffee Beans (climate, JSTOR)

Open Borders

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Economist Bryan Caplan makes a bold case for unrestricted immigration in this fact-filled graphic nonfiction.

American policy-makers have long been locked in a heated battle over whether, how many, and what kind of immigrants to allow to live and work in the country. Those in favor of welcoming more immigrants often cite humanitarian reasons, while those in favor of more restrictive laws argue the need to protect native citizens.

But economist Bryan Caplan adds a new, compelling perspective to the immigration debate: He argues that opening all borders could eliminate absolute poverty worldwide and usher in a booming worldwide economy―greatly benefiting humanity.

With a clear and conversational tone, exhaustive research, and vibrant illustrations by Zach Weinersmith, Open Borders makes the case for unrestricted immigration easy to follow and hard to deny.

Assorted links for 10/30/2019

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1. Will There Be Wine After Climate Change? (climate, JSTOR)

2. Growing Meat in a Lab That Doesn’t Look Like Mush (new-food, NYT)

3. Deadly Algae Are Creeping Northward (climate, The Atlantic)

4. Explore 1400 Paintings & Drawings by Vincent van Gogh–and Much More–at the Van Gogh Museum’s Online Collection (culture, Open Culture)

5. A Flowchart of Philosophical Novels: Reading Recommendations from Haruki Murakami to Don DeLillo (culture, Open Culture)

Assorted links for 10/25/2019

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1. Bitcoin surveillance helped feds take down a massive child abuse site (blockchain, MIT Technology Review)

2. How Do the New Plant-Based Burgers Stack Up? (new-food, NYT)

3. As the World’s Garbage Piles Up, Controversy Over Waste-to-Energy Continues (energy, Undark)

4. George Takei (book, Full Stop)

Assorted links for 10/22/2019

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1. The year of the NBA unicorn (NBA, Axios)

2. Automating humans with AI (AI, Axios)

3. Mammon. Far from representing rationality and logic, capitalism is modernity’s most beguiling and dangerous form of enchantment by Eugene McCarraher (society, aeon)

4. The city trying to make urban living good for your health (cities, BBC)

5. The World Can Make More Water From the Sea, but at What Cost? (technology, NYT)

Assorted links for 10/17/2019

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1. The New Makers of Plant-Based Meat? Big Meat Companies (new-food, NYT)

2. The Great Biomass Boondoggle (energy, The New York Review of Books)

3. This Fungus Mutates. That’s Good News if You Like Cheese (food, NYT)

4. Five Reasons the Diet Soda Myth Won’t Die (food, health, NYT)

5. If a Robotic Hand Solves a Rubik’s Cube, Does It Prove Something? (AI, NYT)

6. What We Lose When We Lose Indigenous Knowledge (culture, JSTOR)