Recent Articles

Web Of Trust

Authenticating yourself using the Internet

Most people using the Internet eventually “sign up” to become members of various sites where they can post stuff. It is suggested that by posting certain identical (“public-key cryptography”) data at several of those sites, an individual can establish a verifiable identity, simply because only that person knows the passwords for posting data at those sites. Since the identical data most likely means the same person did the posting (and the more sites, the better!), it becomes possible to trust that other data also originated from that person, via the mechanism of a “digital signature”. Such data might be a “self-signed” SSL Certificate for a web site the person operates –someone else seeing a warning message about the site, presented by the browser, can find plenty of evidence associating the certificate with the genuine site-operator, and not a hacker.

Economics 102

How the rich get richer and everyone else gets poorer --and the difficult solution

In general, “the rich” mostly includes people who are intimately familiar with the Law of Supply and Demand, and who are able to use it in widely different business enterprises. In general, most such business enterprises involve hiring workers and selling goods. The general population is the source of both the workers and the Demand for goods. When population increases, so does competition for jobs (wages may go down) and goods (prices may go up). The rich can profit from both aspects of the situation, so long as they can forestall increases in productivity of goods (which process often includes making more jobs available; both types of competition are reduced). But almost no one else can profit in that situation.

What is a “Fair Reward” for Intellectual Property?

Innovation, Patents, Copyrights and Fair Rewards vs. Time, Population, Communications and Fair Use

While the fundamental rationale for the existence of Patents and Copyrights has not changed since their inception, there is today a widespread perception that “the System is broken”. Innovators are claiming to be harmed as much as helped by that System, for example. In this Essay an attempt is made to show that the major causes of that problem are population growth and communications speed, and a remedy is proposed.

Disruption in the Banking Paradigm

Things that might be done with "profits" are stranger than typically get imagined.

Perhaps the oldest “business model” is the classic dictum, “profit by buying low and selling high”. The banking industry is more about “renting” than “buying”, but the description “profit by obtaining at a low rate and offering at a high rate” is essentially the same business model. However, in the banking industry, unlike ordinary businesses, “profit” is the same “stuff” that gets handled in terms of “obtain” and “offer”. So, to the extent that profit is something “owned” and not “rented” by the banking industry, it is also something that can actually erode the relationship between banks and those from whom had previously been obtained the “stuff” of the banking industry.

The Great Awakening

How clever animals became people

Humans have existed in anatomically modern form for rather more than 150,000 years. But one of the hallmarks of human behavior, conscious creativity (such as regarding Art), didn’t leave any evidence of its existence until 50,000-70,000 ago. The question of “why” appears to be answerable in terms of known facts about human brain development in the earliest years.

Some Steps Toward Abiogenesis, Part 2

There is more evidence that it is possible than that it is impossible.

Large portions of the following text were posted in 2006 at this web site discussion:
http://www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?control=msg&t=8631
The text included here, from that discussion, was written by someone who chose the handle “FutureIncoming”. I have acquired that author’s permission to expand upon it, replace bad links, and otherwise revise it as appropriate to create this Knol.

Human Reproduction and Murphy’s Law

The basic point here is that human reproduction involves a very complicated sequence of events, while Murphy’s Law is a well-verified general observation regarding complicated events. However, somehow this combination of facts is too-often ignored, which can lead to unnecessary emotional suffering when that sequence of events is discovered to have begun, but afterward fails to become completed. Since “knowledge is power”, the purpose of this Knol is to empower people, such that certain emotional sufferings might be reduced, or sometimes (not always!) even be prevented.

Some Steps Toward Abiogenesis, Part 1

There is more evidence that it is possible than that it is impossible.

Large portions of the following text were posted in 2006 at this web site discussion:
http://www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?control=msg&t=8631
The text included here, from that discussion, was written by someone who chose the handle “FutureIncoming”. I have acquired that author’s permission to expand upon it, replace bad links, and otherwise revise it as appropriate to create this Knol.

Proposed FTL signalling experiment

QM may yet prevail over Einstein's speed limit

Electrical induction can be used to transmit power without wires. If we arrange to stretch the distance across which power can be transmitted that way, then when we throw the power switch at the “induced” end of this system, how quickly does the power-supplying end “know” that power is being drawn or not-drawn?

Simple Quantum Gravitation

A speculation in conceptual logic

“Simple” is relative. There are a lot of concepts to be connected together, from the Uncertainty Principle to Einstein’s most famous equation to “negative” mass-energy. But very little math is used herein. In brief, there seems to be a way to describe virtual gravitons and how they can be emitted in direct proportion to the mass-energy of anything, and yet be absorbed at such a tiny rate that an exceedingly weak force is the result. What more does Physics need?

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