Monday assorted links


2. Musical genres have become so increasingly meaningless, it's funny.

Glad to see Melodic Power Metal to gain more traction among English speakers being 1st hot emerging genre in 2017.

3 - Such was life in Germany.

His "Travels In Italy" is unspeakably dull, at least in English translation. On the upside he promoted suicide successfully.

Maybe he promoted not commiting suicide (after all, he did not kill himself) very unsuccessfully.

Goethe played chess, the mark of a devious mind. I visited his house in one of the German towns way back when--was it Frankfurt?--and saw the chessboard. At the time, I thought, since they talked about scientific works, that it was Gauss the guides were talking about, not a poet.

Foethe studied some natural phenomena. He was Brazilian in the wideness of his interests.

CLYDE YOU forget the finest particles of sand are made (as Leibniz would say) to indent the hardest material: so that the actual intensity of the pressure between the surface of the particles of sand and that of the object they strike must be enormous. By this sand-blast, it is also true that quartz, when reduced to the finest powder, acquires a capacity for absorbing water greater than that of clay. We have a saying in Brazil when the slough gets wet, we Be wältigung. It translates to when the skin is shed, the cool savor the attrition.

2. No, serialism will not become popular soon. New music moves people when it adds a little surprise to something familiar. Forms like serialism or advant garde jazz do not provide enough familiar forms for MOST people. They have their followers, but they are few.

Exactly. Classical serialism didn't catch on for a reason, and that reason hasn't just vanished.

4. I have not yet read whether the Mayans could predict meteor showers, but I bet that the answer is "no."

Which explains the The Chicxulub crater in Mexico.

I know better than to reply to our resident retired Ohio accountant troll, but if the Mayans could have predicted Chicxulub I would be impressed.

I am neither retired (I am barely middle-aged) nor from Ohii nor an accountant nor a troll. If the Mayans could have predicted the impact, they coukd have developed the technology to prevent it.

I bet some dinosaurs identified as Mayan.

Meteor showers are fairly predictable. The big ones are the Perseids at the beginning of August, the Geminids in early December and the Quadrantids around the new year.

Then there's serialism in jazz:

Bill Evans ("Twelve-Tone Tune")
Milton Babbit ("All Set")
Alexander von Schlippenback (~20 solo piano pieces)

5 - I am dying for bitcoin options to see what kind of LEAPS gambling I can do for a nickel a leg...

5. Will the libertarians who are fueling the Bitcoin bubble going to expect government to bail them out when the sky falls?

I would have said the same thing three years ago.

Now it's too big to be just libertardians, this is being driven by ordinary idiots. The libertardians are the ones who got rich.

Are Bitcoin options what we really need?

Heck, yeah! That's like asking whether we need crack cocaine when regular cocaine will do. Bitcoin options are the crystal meth of investment vehicles.

Serving no useful societal purpose, not unlike Fx currency markets, which are for speculation. When I wanted to hedge a large amount of Euros/dollars, that I inherited from my generous Greek uncle (who in his younger days would never have given me a dime, but now, suffering from what some people say is Alzheimer's but legally speaking he is of sound mind says my lawyer), I could not find an easy way to do so. Bitcoin is the same: art, not utility.

It can't be that hard to hedge euros. There's futures contracts, options on the futures. Or you could have just gone online and sold the euros to your bank.

Here’s a piece I wrote for The Hill today. I took some serious heat for it–and I relish the debate.

On performance-based pay for members of Congress.

I can see how some might quibble the formal definition of a Ponzi scheme, but a bubble seems a safe call. I mean, we had the Twitter gag that Thanksgiving was for:

Grandma: How are you doing, Kevin?

Kevin: But what *is* currency Grandma?

And now Grandma is asking Kevin to drop in a few thousand.

Doesn't 5b suffer from a "Bitcoin exactly equals cryptocurrency" identity?

Bitcoin has an obvious first mover advantage, but I think a prediction that Bitcoin will always hold in the public mind as "the" cryptocurrency seems risky. I mean Etherium and Litecoin are not mentioned in that page at all. And as I read the markets, people are already turning to Litecoin because it is "easy" to choose a hot new player.

Maybe solving for the equilibrium we have markets with thousands of coins, and a Dow coin average. In that scenario Bitcoin might be a Blue Chip but not necessarily the market leader for any given year (indeed less likely to be so as time goes on).

(While I never bought Bitcoin, I gave the kid advice that sure, he could invest what he was willing to lose. He recovered his initial investment by selling some at 18,000. I'll have to talk to him about what he considers the long haul.)

Ha. I must admit I made an assumption. I assumed 5b pointed to Tyler's newer piece on bitcoin price. Sorry for the confusion.

Bitcoin reminds me a bit of Esperanto.

There are certainly good arguments for an international language. Esperanto satisfies some of the requirements for such a language. But it does not uniquely satisfy those problems, and the type of person who is willing to learn a made up language tends to also be the kind of person who would really rather invent their own made up language.

Result: infinite fragmentation of the invented language community, and the international language ends up being English by default.

1. Another Alpha Zero masterpiece, this video is nine minutes long.

in any given board situation, the machine expands the available moves relative to the goal of the game. It cn find block, where the opposition is bottle up on any sequence of moves. For example, it restricts the movement of your castle or bishop, actually finding a setting for elasticity of that piece in this mid-game.

So it works ti expand its own current set of available sequential moves, and restrict the opponent. A case of tree pruning, pruning the opponent's move tree and expanding yours. Thus, it tends to play with a lot of movement of pieces, less territorial and is first to sacrifice a pawn in the transition game.

Hmm...maybe, but nobody really knows how the AlphaZero algorithm works. You are aware that in the AlphaBeta algorithm the chess tree is not stored in memory? It's too big. Rather, the principal values of the three are propagated back to the root, and the tree is depth wide or width wise (I forget which, and I'm sure there are two different versions) is searched, serially. Your statement "A case of tree pruning, pruning the opponent’s move tree and expanding yours" implies to my mind that the chess tree is somehow stored and/or somehow manipulated in real time. It could well be, as I've said before, that AlphaZero is not a domain independent algorithm but just a Shannon B type forward pruning version of the AlphaBeta algorithm, in other words, "same as the old boss". Time will tell. Nevertheless a worthy step in the art. Anybody who can solve the game of Go deserves a metal.

Bonus trivia: the creator of AlphaZero is mixed race, Greek and Singapore (Chinese/Indian/Malay mixture).

2. So Spotify's metrics don't work.

5. Now, Cowen is all in on the Bitcoin bubble. Of course, rising asset prices are the new normal for building wealth; not a business that generates jobs and income, but rising asset prices. It's the road to perdition.

So, Prof. Cowen just needs to add this free book to his reading list for 2018 - - and he can look like someone able to quote economic history when the bitcoin bubble bursts. Or doesn't, as in the memorable words of one Internet commentator, for sure it will do one of those two things.

I would like to know who is buying the other side of the bitcoin futures. I would assume most
people buying bitcoin futures are betting the price will increase. Who holds the other side of the trade? Who is betting bitcoin will go down? In "The Big Short" the banks and investment banks were holding (most of) the other side of the trade. They were betting housing would never go down, against John Paulson who, according to wikipedia, personally made almost $4 billion in 2007 when housing collapsed. I hope wealthy individual investors hold the other side of the trade and not the banks and investment banks.

Here is the creator of the LSK currency.

They're "selling" the other side of the trade. And right now it's probably just individuals, although it seems likely the hedge funds will or have already entered the market as the cash/futures arbitrage seems to be happening right now. The futures premium has shrunk dramatically already.

The big banks and brokers are probably waiting for approval from above and for the market to settle down some.

3. Goethe was an Indophile and was into Sanskrit Drama. Kalidasa's Abhijnana Shakuntala was one of his favorite works, and he borrowed a theatrical device from it for his Faust.

He was also an Islamophile. Hafez poetry was among his favorites, and he borrowed from it for the West–Eastern Diwan.

IM Danny Rensch from has much better analysis of the games between AlphaZero and Stockfish.

If only I had taken the advice of a MR commenter a dozen days ago, I would have basically doubled my dollars by buying bitcoin. Yep, no sign of a bubble, just infinite riches for those who who get in on the ground floor. Buy now, or get priced out of a digital construct forever -

4. The abstract speaks of Mayans observing meteor showers, not predicting them.

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