Most people, when considering whether to get involved with Bitcoin, look to the ebbs and flows in its price. This way of thinking is misguided.

The value of Bitcoin is not in its price at any given moment, but in the collective work of the thousands of people who maintain it. These are often highly intelligent people, more than capable of getting cushy jobs in San Francisco or Wall Street, who instead choose to spend their time working on a strange, emerging technology. It is by virtue of this intellectual capital that Bitcoin has a price at all.

The following…

(image via biolayne.com)

Symptoms

A patient walks into a physician’s office with pain in her right shoulder, but nothing appears to have happened there. There’s no bruise, no rash, nothing.

Perhaps the symptom is psychosomatic (in her head). More likely, the issue has to do with her gallbladder — a small organ in the middle of her chest.

A second patient walks into the office. This patient has a pain in her left shoulder. Again, nothing seems to have happened to the site itself.

The diagnosis? A ruptured spleen.

The body is a marvelously complex, interconnected network of biological systems. “Referred pain” — when…

What’s Wrong with QA, and Whether Algorithms Can Fix It

(image via Markus Spiske)

The Monotony of Testing

Software testing can be some of the least enviable work imaginable.

The gaming industry is a good example. Video games may be fun for the rest of us, but only after they’re really not fun, for a long time, for all the people who have to test them.

An open world RPG will have vast expanses of digital valleys, mountain ranges, and cities, every inch of which requires excruciating collision testing to ensure players don’t accidentally walk through walls or underneath oceans. A first-person shooter with multiple DLC packages can have so many permutations of game states that testing…

What Makes it So Tricky

(image via Alistair MacRobert)

3 Ways to Break into a Building

There’s a witticism in the world of security (albeit not a common one) that goes something like this:

There are three ways to break into a building: from the roof, underneath through the floor, or through a wall. So, to stop someone from breaking in, protect the roof, the floors, and the walls.

It’s tongue-in-cheek, of course, but it can be helpful to think in such simplified terms. If you can picture every avenue through which an attacker might break in, you can picture everything you’ll need to do to prevent them from being successful.

Extending this analogy, we can…

A Security Risk for Large Companies

(NBC News)

Vendor Glut

Total SE, a petroleum corporation based in Paris, is a behemoth. And you don’t need to know a thing about them to tell: all you have to do is look at their massive, beautiful, almost frightening headquarters. The Tour Total is not only a skyscraper, it’s three skyscrapers smushed together plus a little extra on the side. Whatever goes on inside those buildings, you can bet, requires a lot of people and a lot of resources.

Will Remote Survive IRL?

(TripSavvy)

Unforeseen Consequences

Pandemics, natural disasters and crises in general tend to have consequences beyond the obvious death and destruction. A hurricane can cause infrastructure damage that affects the economy and mobility in a city a decade later. Climate change brings animal and human populations in closer proximity, opening more avenues for disease spread.

In the mid-1300s, the Black Death killed somewhere north of 75 million, possibly up to around 200 million people. It’s an almost impossibly high number, 200 million — equivalent, in today’s terms, to the population of Western Europe. That kind of seismic shift in the population, naturally, had effects…

A Horror Story

(Wikipedia)

A Deadly Bug

On March 21st, 1986, a man walked into the East Texas Cancer Center (ETCC) to receive radiation therapy on his upper back tumor. It was his ninth visit, so everything felt pretty ordinary. He entered the treatment room and laid down underneath a big, bulky Therac-25 machine (pictured above). The operator, in the control room next door, began the operation. MIT engineer Nancy Leveson recounted the story in a postliminary report:

She entered the patient’s prescription data quickly, then noticed that she had typed “x” (for X-ray) when she had intended “e” (for electron) mode. This was a common mistake…

An Introduction to Penetration Testing

(via Illumio)

Where Good Cybersecurity Gets You

In the mid-2000s, a big data company hired a new CEO named Richard.

Richard had big plans, and was good at following through on them. In a decade’s time, he’d more than double the revenue of the company, and quadruple its stock price.

One of the things Richard had an eye for was cybersecurity. In a speech at the University of Georgia, he called security his “number one worry.” It was a remarkable statement — CEOs care a lot about revenue and stock price, but hardly ever give so much thought to security. In this way, Richard was different. …

Bitcoin isn’t money. Can other coins fill that space?

(The site of what would’ve been Mark Karpeles’ “Bitcoin Cafe”; image via Wired)

I’d like to tell you about the most expensive pizza ever created.

Many have made a claim to the title. Industry Kitchen, in the Financial District of Manhattan, holds the Guinness World Record for “most expensive pizza commercially available.” Their $2,700 “24K” pizza is…

[M]ade of black squid ink dough, and is topped with white Stilton cheese from the UK, foie gras and truffles from France, Ossetra caviar from the Caspian Sea, Almas caviar, and 24K gold leaves.

The 24K pales in comparison to the Louis XIII pizza, however. For $12,000:

[A] pizza chef, sommelier, and exclusive limited-edition cutlery and…

Nate Nelson

Tech writer.

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