Bitcoin and the Steady-state economy

February 22nd, 2014

Bitcoin is rapidly gaining popularity. Despite the recent problems with the Mt.Gox bitcoin exchange, I think the Bitcoin protocol itself will prevail, and more and more people and businesses will start to use it.

I’ve started to experiment with using Bitcoin myself, and found that it works really well. For instance, the Android Bitcoin Wallet makes it easy to transfer money to friends (who use Bitcoin), or to merchants that accept them. New services are arriving in the Bitcoin ecosystem every day.

What does Bitcoin mean in the bigger scheme of things? Unlike most currencies, Bitcoin has the property that there is a fixed upper bound on the number of bitcoins that will ever by created. Currently, there are about 12.5 million bitcoins in existence, and there will never be more than 21 million.

Does this mean that Bitcoin is more well-suited for a Steady state economy? As there is a bound on the amount of physical resources the economy can use, and the environmental impact of economic growth continues to worsen, many, including myself, believe that an economy without the annual growth in energy and material use is desirable (the alternative being a crashing economy).

With Bitcoin, people who save money, are not immediately watered down. The fixed amount of bitcoins and the fixed amount of physical resources should give price-stability in the long run. A fixed amount of physical resources and an ever-increasing amount of traditional money supply leads to loss of value and an unhealthy incentive to go out and hoard resources. Which is exactly what rich people do today when they get their hands on more money: They run out and invest it in real estate, stocks, energy or materials.

Who is Googling You?

October 3rd, 2012

I recently watched “Du är googla” (You’ve been Googled) on NRKs web-TV. It has a few interesting points, and one which I found particularly interesting is how much the Google search results on your name matter. So, knowing a thing or two about Google and AdWords from my time working for Google, I set out to answer a few interesting questions.

The first is how many people are actually googling for me. Of course, I have a bit of statistics from Google Analytics on search queries that led the user to my homepage, but this only captures those that actually clicked the entry for my homepage, and there are many more search results.

So the first hunch was to use Google trends data, but disappointingly, there’s not enough search data for me out there. Unless you’re some public figure, you’re probably going to run into the same thing. But if you’re an optimist you can give Google Trends a try.

My next approach is a bit more powerful for people with low search traffic. I set up an AdWords campaign using my name as keywords.

You can have some fun here figuring out exactly what to write about yourself. The ad itself isn’t all that important, though it should be on topic. The real reason to do this is to provide some counter-intelligence on the people who are googling for you.

What you get, assuming you have reasonably low search traffic and not much competition advertising on your name, is a very cheap AdWords campaign. If you have a webpage, your webhost likely has AdWords coupons so it may even be free for a long time. With this method, what you get is a dashboard that tells you how many times your ad was triggered (in some cases, like if you run out of budget or your ad is not relevant, it may not always show up).

So on to the more interesting question: WHO is Googling You?  With AdWords you can even break down the data by geography, time of day etc. etc. which makes it more interesting. For instance, if you’re applying for a position, you may be able to see that someone in that particular location searched for you:

 

There are many other things you could see, like time of day and the exact search phrase used, like “Geir Engdahl IOI” or similar.

I’ll be back with more insights on this method when it’s been running for a little longer.

Iran Next?

March 29th, 2012

Tension between Israel & the US and Iran has been growing the past few months. The economic sanctions are really starting to hurt Iran, but they are also hurting the West with higher oil prices. Blocking Iran’s oil exports is a big sacrifice in today’s tight oil market. Read the rest of this entry »

Peeing Your Pants Just to Stay Warm

March 15th, 2012

The US and Great Britain are back at it, releasing their strategic oil reserves “in an effort to prevent high fuel prices derailing economic growth in an election year”. Last year, they did the same thing while Libya’s oil production was offline. The effect on oil prices lasted for  a whopping two weeks back then. This year’s action is, if possible, even more short-sighted. Read the rest of this entry »

OptiMap version 4 is here

January 25th, 2012

New user interface

Hold down shift while pressing reload to make sure the page fully reloads if OptiMap appears broken.

The first thing you’ll notice is a complete makeover of the user interface. The functionality has grown considerably since I first posted OptiMap in 2007, and the controls were scattered randomly around. Now, they are organized into neat little drawers on the left, in the order you are likely to be using them. Read the rest of this entry »