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Showing posts from June, 2011

Don Raaaaamiiiiiiro

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As I wait for my child by the entrance of our apartment building, I notice Don Ramiro walking out. The eighty-year old man in his pressed suit and tie, heads off to whatever pretend job he goes to, the kind where the “girl” fetches him coffee while he does the crossword puzzles and plans his lunch dates with his Franco-era cronies.

Is the middle-aged man deferentially following Don Ramiro a new man-servant? Could the old codger be getting more feeble? I discuss it with my husband. He’s doubtful “Nah, the bad ones hang on forever. Their toxic personality acts as a preservative.” I have another theory. “Maybe they’re secretly afraid of Hell?”

Don Ramiro is a machista who thinks he’s a gentleman. He feels immensely superior to women and to foreigners. He hates children. He has neither manners, nor education, nor culture, nor any professional distinction that I’ve heard of. He did, however, have enough common sense to marry the daughter of a president of a national bank. This means that he …

BitCoin. Thoughts on QE

A friend recently turned me on to the existence of bitcoin.

The gist of it is cypher solid peer-to-peer electronic cash system. The creation of money is fixed in its algorithm and is fixed to 21 million units in time. It has grown in visibility of late and the economy it represents is on the order of 6.5 million USD. It seems it used for 'official' purposes (mostly development) and of course many illicit activities such as the drug trade.

Peer-to-peer, CPU creation

The creation of money happens in random places by just 'running' your computer. yeah, it is 'free' money. However the algo is such that a regular computer will take a couple of years to create a unit, so the gold rush is passed essentially.
The peer to peer feature means there is no clearance, no banks, just a trusted network. The original paper by nakamoto is interesting in that it predicts that the system cannot be hacked unless 'a majority of CPUs' is in the hands of a malicious entity, …

Growing corn: Science for the busy dad

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Elvira attends the "Lycee francais de Madrid" and in good french fashion gets turned on to all kinds of science at an early age.
I am sure most kids around the world have this "assignment" of growing plants to learn a few tricks, so here is quick review of what growing corn can teach you and your kids.
Start a popcorn seed
Just any regular popcorn seed will do. Put it in a wet cotton. It will sprout after a few days. Of note the sprouting happens with water only. You don't need light or nutrients, proving that the seed is a little self bootstrapping entity. To show this, grow 3 seeds. One with water and light, one with light only, another one with water only. The one with light only will not sprout. The only with water only will.
Expose the Sprout to light: Photosynthesis
In a little cup or glass, at this stage no need for fancy nutrient or anything. Put the plant in sunlight and it will start photosynthesis. At this stage you can compare with a sprout left…