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17 JULY 2013

The Social-Media Bubble is Quietly Deflating

"It might be over. Social–media companies drew only 2 percent of the venture capital headed to Internet–based enterprises last quarter, according to data published on Tuesday by CB Insights, a research firm that tracks venture–capital investment. In the two–year stretch that ended in the middle of 2012, social–media companies took in at least 6 percent of overall venture capital invested in Internet companies each quarter. But for three of the last four quarters, those social startups have brought in 2 percent or less (with the outlier quarter largely the result of a huge investment in Pinterest earlier this year). The peak came in the third quarter of 2011, when social companies led by Twitter took in 21 percent of the total $3.8 billion in Internet deals by venture capital firms."

(Joshua Brustein, 16 July 2013, Businessweek)

Fig.1 Andreas L avl42 (27 March 2012). "Skyline with Cranes" [http://www.flickr.com/photos/avl42/6880333552/].

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TAGS

2012ads • Anand Sanwal • Ashlee Vance • banner ad • big dataBloomberg BusinessweekBloomberg LPbusiness • CB Insights • click-through ratecloud computing • consumer-oriented application • e-commerce • economic bubble • Facebook • financial bubble • grouponInternet boom • Internet bubble • market bubble • NASDAQPinterestpredictions • price bubble • Silicon Valleysocial media • social media bubble • social media companies • social media startups • speculation • speculative bubble • Twitterventure capital • venture capitalists • Zynga

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
22 MARCH 2013

The Rise and Fall of Bitcoin

"In November 1, 2008, a man named Satoshi Nakamoto posted a research paper to an obscure cryptography listserv describing his design for a new digital currency that he called bitcoin. None of the list's veterans had heard of him, and what little information could be gleaned was murky and contradictory. In an online profile, he said he lived in Japan. His email address was from a free German service. Google searches for his name turned up no relevant information; it was clearly a pseudonym. But while Nakamoto himself may have been a puzzle, his creation cracked a problem that had stumped cryptographers for decades. The idea of digital money – convenient and untraceable, liberated from the oversight of governments and banks – had been a hot topic since the birth of the Internet. Cypherpunks, the 1990s movement of libertarian cryptographers, dedicated themselves to the project. Yet every effort to create virtual cash had foundered. Ecash, an anonymous system launched in the early 1990s by cryptographer David Chaum, failed in part because it depended on the existing infrastructures of government and credit card companies. Other proposals followed – bit gold, RPOW, b–money – but none got off the ground.

One of the core challenges of designing a digital currency involves something called the double–spending problem. If a digital dollar is just information, free from the corporeal strictures of paper and metal, what's to prevent people from copying and pasting it as easily as a chunk of text, 'spending' it as many times as they want? The conventional answer involved using a central clearinghouse to keep a real–time ledger of all transactions – ensuring that, if someone spends his last digital dollar, he can't then spend it again. The ledger prevents fraud, but it also requires a trusted third party to administer it.

Bitcoin did away with the third party by publicly distributing the ledger, what Nakamoto called the 'block chain.' Users willing to devote CPU power to running a special piece of software would be called miners and would form a network to maintain the block chain collectively. In the process, they would also generate new currency. Transactions would be broadcast to the network, and computers running the software would compete to solve irreversible cryptographic puzzles that contain data from several transactions. The first miner to solve each puzzle would be awarded 50 new bitcoins, and the associated block of transactions would be added to the chain. The difficulty of each puzzle would increase as the number of miners increased, which would keep production to one block of transactions roughly every 10 minutes. In addition, the size of each block bounty would halve every 210,000 blocks – first from 50 bitcoins to 25, then from 25 to 12.5, and so on. Around the year 2140, the currency would reach its preordained limit of 21 million bitcoins."

(Benjamin Wallace, 23 November 2011, Wired Magazine)

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1990s2008anonymous system • b-money • bit gold • bitcoin • block chain • broadcast to the network • chain • clearinghouse • collective interests • collective participation • collective participation technology • corporeal strictures • credit card • cryptographer • cryptographic puzzle • cryptography • currency • cypherpunkDavid Chaumdecentralisation • digital currency • digital dollar • digital money • distribution models • double-spending • financial flowsfinancial transactionsfraudfree market economyglobal capital flowsinformation flowsinformation theoryinfrastructureJapan • ledger • libertarianism • Listservminermining • mining metaphor • P2Ppuzzle • pyramid scheme • RPOW • Satoshi Nakamoto • speculationspeculation and innovation • spending • trustvalue and benefit • virtual cash • Wired (magazine)

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
20 APRIL 2012

A personal profile of American writer and futurist Alvin Toffler

"This episode features Alvin Toffler. He is an American writer and futurist, known for his works discussing the digital revolution, communications revolution, corporate revolution and technological singularity. A former associate editor of Fortune magazine, his early work focused on technology and its impact (through effects like information overload). Then he moved to examining the reaction of and changes in society. His later focus has been on the increasing power of 21st century military hardware, weapons and technology proliferation, and capitalism"

(Sciencedump, submitted by Jur on 30 October 2010)

Halperin, J. (2002). "Alvin Toffler – Futurist". Big Thinkers. USA, TechTV: 22 minutes [The Internet Movie Database, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0250841/fullcredits#cast].

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200221st centuryAlvin Tofflercapitalismchanges in society • communications revolution • conceptualisationconjecture • construction of knowledge • convergence • corporate revolution • digital culturedigital revolutionforecastingFortune magazinefuturefuture forecasting • future shock • futuristfuturologyHeidi Tofflerindividualisationinformation in contextinformation overloadmeaningmilitary hardwaremodernity • personal profile • predicting the future • reaction of society • reflexive modernisationsocial changesocietyspeculationspeculativespeculative science • technological singularity • technologytechnology and its impacttechnology proliferation • TechTV • tv documentaryunderstanding • weapons proliferation • writer and futurist

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
11 AUGUST 2009

Hyperland: 1990 fantasy documentary speculating about the future of interactive media

"In this one–hour documentary produced by the BBC in 1990, Douglas falls asleep in front of a television and dreams about future time when he may be allowed to play a more active role in the information he chooses to digest. A software agent, Tom (played by Tom Baker), guides Douglas around a multimedia information landscape, examining (then) cuttting–edge research by the SF Multimedia Lab and NASA Ames research center, and encountering hypermedia visionaries such as Vannevar Bush and Ted Nelson. Looking back now, it's interesting to see how much he got right and how much he didn't: these days, no one's heard of the SF Multimedia Lab, and his super–high–tech portrayal of VR in 2005 could be outdone by a modern PC with a 3D card. However, these are just minor niggles when you consider how much more popular the technologies in question have become than anyone could have predicted – for while Douglas was creating Hyperland, a student at CERN in Switzerland was working on a little hypertext project he called the World Wide Web..."
(douglasadams.com)

Adams, D. N. (1990). Hyperland. UK, BBC Two: 50 minutes.

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
28 MAY 2009

Walking City: urbanism gone ambulatory, a metropolis on the move

"In 1964, Ron Herron of Archigram proposed a Walking City: urbanism gone ambulatory, a metropolis on the move. The Walking City, strutting along on iron stilts, was imagined as an 'escape hatch from environmental conditions,' Simon Sadler writes. It was an 'architecture of rescue' – a city in shining armor – 'partly inspired by the tents and field hospitals of humanitarian relief efforts.'

Herron also had openly utopian intentions for the project. If the city didn't like where it was, for instance – if its residents found their surroundings boring, oppressive or even quasi–fascist – the whole thing could simply stand up and walk away, re–settling itself elsewhere, freed from the constraints of law and geography."
(Blend Magazine)

[Image: Ron Herron/Archigram, The Walking City]

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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