Doubters and Bitcoin

Bitcoin is becoming sufficiently well known that people on reddit post topics like I believe that BitCoin will be a spectacular failure (granted, this was in the Change My View subreddit).

Here's my response:

Bitcoin is the same kind of "bubble" as gold. A comparison between the two:
  • Gold has ornamental use, and niche technology uses, neither of which contribute much to its perceived value. Gold is valuable because everyone thinks it is - because other people use it as a store of value.
  • Despite its relative lack of inherent value, gold served as an economically stable medium of exchange for thousands of years.
  • Gold is inappropriate as a medium of exchange in an online economy. It's impractical to trade at a distance without relying on third parties.
  • Bitcoin lacks ornamental value and niche industry use, but is even better suited as a store of value.
  • Bitcoin is extremely easy to send to anyone, at any distance, anywhere.
  • The value of Bitcoin will stabilize once it approaches wide acceptance.
  • Bitcoin may overshoot its ultimate value at some point, but right now it is far from the value it will need to have, if a significant fraction of people are ever going to use it.
  • The main obstacle for Bitcoin is the inherent insecurity of most today's computer systems. It's currently hard even for an expert to hold Bitcoin securely.
  • Once secure hardware wallets are available, and assuming governments don't band together to intervene, there's no reason for Bitcoin not to supersede gold as a preferred store of value.
  • The current value of all gold in the world is about $6.4 trillion.
  • The current value of all Bitcoin is approaching $12 billion. It can easily grow by another factor of 100 before it begins to compete with gold in market cap.
Pyramid schemes crash when they run out of investors, i.e. when most potential buyers already have a position, and there's no one left to sell to. But when Bitcoin reaches this point - when most potential buyers already have it - at that point, it becomes the global currency. Acceptance is the very measure of its value.

It would take a very significant concerted effort, a sabotage, or a discovery of some completely unexpected technological flaw, to sweep the floor from under Bitcoin, at this point.

Disclosure: I did purchase some Bitcoin. Stupid me didn't bother to buy in 2011, when I first heard of it; nor in 2012, when it was still at $5, even as I was seriously looking into it. But I finally got some this year. I'm planning to hold onto it indefinitely; there's just never any reason to dump it. Even when it reaches $100k, it's likely still going to grow. Besides, what would you exchange it for? USD? Is that going to grow?


New Relationship Insanity

LoL. :) I definitely suffer from this.


Windows 8.1 upgrade blues

I wouldn't say my upgrade to Windows 8.1 was smooth.

The laptop first crashed soon after the upgrade. When I connected my external HDMI screen, Windows blue screened and pointed out the NVIDIA display driver as the culprit. I disconnected HDMI and updated NVIDIA drivers to the latest version, but now blue screens started to occur when attempting to open the NVIDIA Control Panel. When it didn't cause the computer to crash, it still failed to open with an error stating that no NVIDIA graphics card is currently active. I checked the Device Manager, but all it said was that NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M is operating correctly. That's even though it clearly didn't: I tried starting a game to make sure, and the frame rate, which should be about 100, was between 1 and 2. I didn't even try HDMI at this point.

It turned out the problem was that the upgrade to 8.1 disabled the Intel HD Graphics 4600 driver. I had to download a new one from the Intel Download Center. After installing the new Intel HD Graphics driver, the NVIDIA graphics also started to work fine. I've now been able to connect my external HDMI display, and the game shows a normal frame rate.

Here's to hoping that's mostly the end of Windows 8.1 upgrade troubles.


Kimchi Cuddles

I just love Kimchi Cuddles. It started earlier this year, and there's already hours worth of it to read. If you're trying to wrap your mind around poly - if you're looking for insight into what it's like as a mindset - then this is it.

Follow this link to read it from the beginning.


The cost of giving birth in Costa Rica, and more photos

So, the bills are in:

Hospital (24 hour stay)USD1,980

Not too bad, for no insurance, and a C-section. I've seen reports of total costs such as $25k in the US.

We were happy with the quality of service, and found the professionalism comparable to what we would expect in the US.

Why no insurance?

Folks have asked why we don't have medical insurance. Well, we sort of do. We have access to the public system, we just pay out of pocket for private health care.

Costa Rica has one of the best health care systems, in my opinion. There's a system of public hospitals that's available to everyone through social security. We pay a significant amount for social security every month, so we have access to that. However, we prefer to use the services of private hospitals. Private hospitals charge rates much more reasonable than in the US, so we can afford to pay out of pocket.

If we lived in the US, where you can expect to go bankrupt if you lack insurance and need medical care, we would definitely be insured. But the US is probably the only country where, if you're not insured, you can expect to be charged a factor of 5 times more than what the fair cost would have been, if it were charged to your insurance instead.

Bonus photos!

I'm sure the grandparents will want to see these. :-) (More photos earlier)

Dan Savage on (non)monogamy

Hear, hear. Dan Savage makes an appearance in The Guardian:

Why is non-monogamy such a dangerous idea?

I don't follow his writing, exactly, but I've so far read nothing from him I didn't like.


People who can't use lifts

More specifically - people who:
  1. Press both the up and down button when they call the lift. As if they're going to go both directions.
  2. Board a lift going the wrong direction, even when the direction is clearly signaled before they enter the lift.
  3. Fail to notice that the lift refused to register their floor selection, because it's going the opposite way.
  4. Grumble when they need to select their floor again, once the lift has reached bottom.

Our parking is in the bottom basement of our building. When I call a lift, and it arrives with a person already in it, and that person doesn't disembark, I immediately know:
  • They're a dumb fuck who pressed both the up and down buttons when they called the lift, causing the lift to stop on their floor when it didn't have to. This wastes my time waiting for the lift.
  • They're a dumb fuck who entered the lift going the wrong way. This wastes their time, because now they're going with the lift, all the way the wrong direction, before they can even start to go where they want to. And it wastes the time of others, because now the other lift, which goes the right direction, but which they did not board, is going to stop on that floor without anyone boarding or leaving.

It doesn't happen just to kids, either. I keep seeing middle-aged people who have no business arriving at basement E, and really should have known better.

If only folks could learn to press only the button for the direction they want to go, and then board a lift that's actually going that direction. No one's going to say anything, but we will silently thank you.