They thought their payments were untraceable. They couldn’t have been more wrong. The untold story of the case that shredded the myth of Bitcoin’s anonymity.
Not long ago, while browsing a craft fair in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, I spotted a guitar like no other I’d ever seen. It hung half-hidden behind a display of cutting boards and wooden bowls in the booth of woodworker and luthier David Smith. Noting my hungry stare, Smith gently lifted the instrument from its perch and urged me to give it a try. I cradled it under my elbow and plucked a few chords. The sound was resonant and true. But the most remarkable part was the look of the thing: Its back and sides rippled like a full moon reflecting off a dead calm sea. Mesmerizing.
“What you’re staring at is The Tree,” Smith said, smiling. “It’s the rarest and most coveted wood in the world.”
One of the couple’s two dogs, a pit bull named Valik, had also been shot dead; his body lay in a wheelbarrow beside the front door. Artillery had damaged the house, and Havryliuk would later discover their second dog crushed beneath a heap of rubble. The cats were gone. When Havryliuk went inside to salvage what she could of her and Sergey’s things, she discovered that Russian soldiers had stolen her jewelry and perfume, and some of her bras and underwear. While Havryliuk was sifting through her looted living room, a woman with dyed purple hair and a tattered down vest arrived and embraced her. Her name was Nadejda Cherednichenko, and she lived a block away. She said that her son, a twenty-seven-year-old electrician named Volodymyr, had been detained by Russian soldiers in early March. When Cherednichenko went to their commander to petition for his release, the commander told her that Volodymyr was no longer in Bucha. After three weeks, Cherednichenko approached two soldiers outside her house. “I said to them, ‘I’m asking you as a mother,’ ” she told Havryliuk. “ ‘Is my son alive?’ ” One of the soldiers responded, “You don’t have a son anymore.”
DALL·E 2 can create original, realistic images and art from a text description. It can combine concepts, attributes, and styles. […]
In January 2021, OpenAI introduced DALL·E. One year later, our newest system, DALL·E 2, generates more realistic and accurate images with 4x greater resolution.
Wowie! What you’re looking at is (mostly) what it would look like to orbit around a supermassive black hole, rendered (almost) entirely through physical principles. Get a good look at it now, because I’m really proud of this one and I’m going to deep dive into all the steps, and it’ll be a bit before we get back to anything that looks nice.
Well that was weird. On Tuesday I wrote a column saying it was unlikely that Elon Musk will buy Twitter Inc. On Wednesday I left on a family vacation. On Thursday, for my sins, Elon Musk announced an offer to buy Twitter for $54.20 per share in cash. 420 is a weed joke.
I suppose this increased the probability that Elon Musk will buy Twitter? By a little? Yesterday Twitter’s stock managed to close down 1.7%, at $45.08, suggesting that the market puts a somewhat lower probability on Musk buying Twitter after he formally proposed to buy Twitter than it did before.
The inner levels have real power, and the outer layers are theoretically overseers but actually rubber stamps. Things get more and more rubber-stampy as you go out, culminating in the National People’s Congress, which recently voted to re-elect Xi by a vote of 2,970 in favor, 0 against - it’s so irrelevant that it’s literally called “the NPC”.
Who chooses the members of the inner groups? In theory, the outer groups; for example, the Central Committee is supposed to elect the Politburo Standing Committee. In practice, these selections tend to be of the “2,970 in favor, 0 against” variety, so they must be taking marching orders from someone. Who? The Chinese government doesn’t talk about it much, but probably the members of the Politburo Standing Committee hand-pick everyone, including the Paramount Leader and their own successors.
How do they pick? Mostly patron-client relationships. Every leading politician cultivates a network of loyal supporters; if he takes power, he tries to put as many of his people into top posts as he can. The seven Politburo members wheel and deal with each other about whose clients should get which positions, including any unoccupied Politburo seats.
If the two word description of US politics is “democracy, checks-and-balances”, then the two word description of Chinese politics is “oligarchy, patrons-and-clients”. If this seems exotic, it shouldn’t: it’s not much different from how the US fills unelected posts like “ambassador” and “White House staffer”. The Trump presidency put this into especially sharp relief, either because Trump did it more blatantly than usual or just because Trump’s clients were so obviously different from the normal Washington crowd. Consider eg the appointment of Jeff Sessions (among the first Congressmen to endorse Trump) as Attorney General.
In the US, this is a peripheral part of the system, checked by democracy. In China, it’s the whole game.
150, Dunbar’s number, is the natural size of human social groups. Robin Dunbar’s 1993 paper, where he put forward this hypothesis, is a great read – it’s got twists and turns, so much more in it than just the 150 number. […]
The paper and the number are both super well-known.
BUT - I insist! - still not well-known enough in our software and design circles. Especially given there is a revitalisation and renewed interest in building and innovating with the social internet.
So I figured I would share my favourite bits. […]
The interesting bit, for me, is about the “natural” size of a conversation group.
Dunbar’s prediction, based on the estimated efficiency gain versus chimps: human conversation group sizes should be limited to about 3.8 in size (one speaker plus 2.8 listeners).
And this holds up!
Being diagnosed with terminal cancer doesn’t happen like it does in the movies. The doctors don’t actually tell you how long you have to live. They can’t predict the future. What they say is: What you have will kill you at some point. We just don’t know when. It could be months. It could be years. It could be longer.
The only real hope they can offer is that someone might find a cure before it’s too late. All they can do for now is keep me alive as long as they can.
That means a lot of chemo and a lot of scans. My current schedule is chemo every three weeks and scans every nine. The whole process of getting scanned takes about an hour and a half. One hour to sit in the tiny waiting room and another half-hour for the actual scan.
Like I said before, it leaves you with a lot of time to think. I usually end up thinking about my son. […]
I don’t want Jackson to have the same childhood that I did. I want him to wonder why his dad’s friends always come over and shoot hoops with him. Why they always invite him to their houses. Why there are so many of them at his games. I hope that he gets sick of them.
One thing I have learned from this experience is that you can’t worry about things that you can’t control. I can’t control what will happen to me. I don’t know how long I will be there for my son. All I can do is make the most of the time that I have left. That means investing in other people so they can be there for him.
Brigitte Cleroux faked her credentials and treated hundreds of patients across Canada. Why did no one stop her?
I have to admit: before watching this video, I was unaware that there were professional jump ropers. But of course there are, and Tori Boggs is perhaps the best one in the world. She’s won dozens of world championships and holds some impressive world records. And the tricks she can do with a rope…it’s a joy to watch someone who so obviously loves what they do perform at such a high level.
One way of thinking about the "ideal governance" question is: what kinds of designs could exist that aren't common today? And how should a new organization/country/etc. think about what design is going to be best for its purposes, beyond "doing what's usually done"? […]
For example, here are a number of ideas I've seen floating around that seem cool and interesting, and ought to be considered if someone could set up a governance system however they wanted:
Sortition, or choosing people randomly to have certain powers and responsibilities. An extreme version could be: "Instead of everyone voting for President, randomly select 1000 Americans; give them several months to consider their choice, perhaps paid so they can do so full-time; then have them vote."
A new analysis of W bosons suggests these particles are significantly heavier than predicted by the Standard Model of particle physics.
Easily the best accordion playing I’ve come across in my life
In the era of online dating, one septuagenarian Irishman clings tight to a method passed down through the generations—and thousands of happy couples are luckier for it.
A man’s sudden death during a routine brain scan has given researchers a glimpse of the dying human brain.
The chess tables in Washington Square Park’s southwest corner have been occupied by a revolving cast of hustlers for more than 80 years. When a CAFÉ ANNE reader suggested I interview these fellows for a feature, I asked what she wanted to know.
Boy, did she have questions! “How often do people win? Do they compete against each other? What were they doing before this? Or is this like a side hustle!? I mean seriously WHAT IS THEIR DEAL!?!?!?!?”
Personally, I was curious if these fellows had any life advice. After all, you can’t be hustling chess in a public park for decades without forming some conclusions about what makes people tick.
On his Twitter account, filmmaker Edward Zwick (Glory, Legends of the Fall, The Last Samurai) is writing these amazing short threads on the films that he’s made and the lessons he’s learned, many of them celebrating actors he’s worked with (these are my favorites). Here are some selections from some of the threads. […]
During rehearsals, I kept Matt [Damon] and the others apart from Denzel Washington, whose interrogation of them drives the plot. As fate would have it, his first day of shooting was scheduled opposite Denzel. And his close-up was up first.
You can tell something special is happening on set by watching the crew. Even the dolly grip, who had made hundreds of movies, was paying attention. As the two actors began to work, it was as if a spell had been cast over the set…
As we finished Matt’s coverage, Denzel caught my eye and nodded approvingly. Later, he took me aside. “Who is the kid?” he asked? I told him it was Matt’s first big role. “Damn,” he said, “Better get my game on. He almost blew me off the screen.”
Rae’s search for densely populated clusters also turned up notable circles beyond Asia. They surrounded cities like Cairo, Paris, and Mexico City. […]
Circling Hanoi yields a population of 4.27 billion (54% of the global population). It was the runner up city circle in Rae’s original search.
Circling Cairo yields a population of 2.29 billion. This circle reaches most of Europe while still containing populated areas of India, Pakistan, and Africa.
I’ve featured storm chasing photographer Mike Olbinski’s work here on kottke.org pretty frequently. His latest video celebrates a decade of capturing haboobs (dust storms).
The port of Amsterdam is one of the busiest seaports in Europe. But it gets really busy when there are tall ships from all over the world and everyone wants to get out on the water to see them. This is a time lapse video taken at the 2015 SAIL maritime festival that shows the port absolutely teeming with ships and boats of all shapes and sizes.
Professor theorises electrical impulses sent by mycological organisms could be similar to human language
Now consider the recent and stunning output from Google’s Pathway Languages Model
The Museum of Endangered Sounds is a soundboard of dozens of sounds from old technologies, from the ICQ message notification (“uh oh!”) to the Windows 95 startup sound to a rotary telephone to a dial-up modem. Suuuuper nostalgic.
What was once a pre-market morning newsletter became an afternoon newsletter, 12 seconds at a time […]
I recently spent a bit too much time trying to find out when a man in Brooklyn presses a button.
This drone fly-through of Tesla’s new factory in Berlin is amazing. I’ve never seen anything quite like this — the drone flies through the robotic machinery in between cycles of stamping out parts and also through the cars as they are being assembled. A uniquely effective how-things-are-made video.
[OC] Find your percentile position in the global income distribution (and in 16 countries around the world) | Reddit
I find that Pakistan’s per capita GDP would have been an average of about $718 per year higher had the country not undertaken the effort to produce a nuclear weapon. This equates to per capita GDP being 27.8 percent lower on average over the 25-year weapons-development period.