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Bitcoin as a function of increasing inequality

Now that rewards accrue more and more to those at the very top, it’s understandable why people would speculate on bitcoin: “Go big or go home.” Not to mention having the disposable income with which to do this.

Predict bubbles to rise as inequality grows and doing a little better isn’t good enough.

All that said, and while recognizing that the cryptocurrencies are a dangerous game, I think there’s one thing missing from the analyses of the currencies. They’re fun. I built a bitcoin mining rig in 2011, not thinking I would earn much money, but because I wanted to learn how to put together a computer from components and run it using Ubuntu. I don’t see what the big deal is with people getting bitcoin just to have some and not using it in transactions. Would you spend a good book or use it to transact? No, but it doesn’t mean your book is useless. I’m pro-bitcoin, even if it’s a bubble, without being into drugs or anti-government.

BTC: 1J8BBZcybM1LB5o9yydjdjoUWUnhcbitEn


Google Glass review

It was fun.

 

If you haven’t had the chance to play with it yet – it’s buggy and unable to do much yet. However, it seems like this is one of the times where the software can really make it. (What are e-readers without books? A laptop without software?) And I know of a lot of cool things being developed, like a Wii sports-like app from Alex Foster.

I like it and I’m excited for future, despite its current early stage. The price will have to come down substantially before it can take off, not the least because you don’t want to wear something so expensive while walking down the street.

Apart from that, I’ll quote my friend Vinci (of econometrics videos fame):

What’s it good for:
- HUD clock. Seriously, this is surprisingly useful.
- Directions. Works just like Google Navigation and makes you feel like a jet pilot.
- Calls. Which you can initiate with voice command. If you’re looking for a Ghost In The Shell experience, you got it.
- Snapping photos and videos. Quality is acceptable for Facebook.
- Google search. Too slow and voice-recognition is too inaccurate for practical use.
- That’s it, seriously. There is a reason why it’s for early adopters only.


AidEconomics.com now redirects here

It was time to consolidate and to follow the lead of many other eponymous bloggers.

I still think aid is interesting; I still think one should take a very broad definition (including trade agreements, etc.).

Will migrate old posts over here shortly. As a perk, the site gets a more modern look.


Random families

A recent NYTimes article discusses “the families we invent”. I always thought families were so arbitrary and that someone should make a website which randomly matches people into “families” to extend the concept a bit further. Many wouldn’t catch on or be maintained but it would make a good statement.


The World Bank cancels 2014 Young Professionals Program

The Young Professionals Program is the main recruitment tool used by the World Bank. About 10% of its professional staff came in through that process. In my 2011 cohort, there were 35 of us. The program has been cancelled for 2014, though they say it will return.

I am trying to get the story on what is going on. Currently, this seems to be the best guess:

1. With the bank re-structuring into 14 “Global Practices”, there’s confusion over where the YPs would fit in, and/or who would decide on them and be (in a token way) responsible for them

Usually, the VPs all vote on the last set of candidates, and if you support someone’s application you are nominally responsible for taking them in if they can’t find a placement.

2. The head of the YP program left a couple of months ago, making it harder to coordinate

Much worse: there are rumours she will not be replaced. This makes me worry that it’s perhaps not just a transient shock. Especially given:

3. There are some senior people not so fond of YPs (word on the street)

This all still sounds like a temporary thing. Hopefully. If there were ever a group of people not to cut, it would be your young people with the latest skills. The World Bank has a lot of old people. In my experience, the young brought in a lot of new ideas.

P.S. Check out a new Indiegogo relating to what we know and don’t yet know in development.