Big name bets were made. As cash inflates, Bitcoin entices.

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In the summer of 2020, NASDAQ-listed business intelligence company Microstrategy purchased 21,454 bitcoins for $250 million, spread over 78,388 transactions. They have since added 16,796 bitcoins, for a total investment of $425 million.

These moves are milestones in a growing list of public and private companies that are adding Bitcoin into their capital allocation strategies, many for the first time in 2020. Square’s $50 million Bitcoin announcement in October is just the latest high-profile company to join.

The emerging trend in corporate Bitcoin investment begs the questions, why Bitcoin and…


The ultimate health monitoring device will be something you sit on

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Photo by bady abbas on Unsplash

Technology is causing major shifts in how we manage our health.

One of these shifts is from infrequent to continuous health monitoring. Biometric tracking was once reserved for annual checkups, but can now be done passively through your smart watch or ring.

As a result, lifestyle recommendations are also shifting from generalized to specific. Your phone’s health tracking apps are more accessible and applicable than the food pyramid and exercise posters at the doctor’s office.

Perhaps the best example of growing accessibility and personalization is the fact that genome…


The decline in a network’s value can be steeper than its incline

Metcalfe-Hall artwork: the decline potential of Metcalfe’s Law was coined as Hall’s Law.
Metcalfe-Hall artwork: the decline potential of Metcalfe’s Law was coined as Hall’s Law.
Artwork by Matthew Pettigrew at Digital Absurdist

Metcalfe’s Law asserts that a network’s value increases in proportion to the square of its nodes.

For social networks like Facebook, each additional user improves the overall experience of existing users, through adding relationship opportunities, idea sharing, interactions, etc.

As more people join, the network becomes more valuable, thereby attracting new members, which in turn adds value to the network. The network effect is self-reinforcing, and the reason why social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram have risen dramatically in terms of user growth.

To date, Facebook has amassed 2.7 billion monthly active users (MAU), up 12% from…


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Photo by Yong Chuan Tan on Unsplash

In 1633, Galileo was put before the Roman Inquisition to renounce his support for the unacceptable idea that the Earth revolves around the sun. It wouldn’t be until 1822 that the Catholic Church permitted this idea of heliocentrism. Today, it is unthinkable to suggest that the Sun revolves around the Earth, given the overwhelming evidence.

The Overton Window is the range of acceptable topics that can be discussed in a group. When someone openly discusses a topic that is outside this range, they are shunned or cast out for publicly expressing an unacceptable view.

When speaking of UFOs, the Overton…


Market pressures incentivize adding more automation to online shopping. Drone deliveries could be the next frontier.

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Photo by Diana Măceşanu on Unsplash

Santa Claus flies around on Christmas Eve, landing on rooftops to deliver packages to good girls and boys. Soon, drones may fly around on Christmas Eve, landing on front yards to deliver packages to parents who forgot to buy presents.

In 2016, Amazon Prime Air was developed as an autonomous drone delivery service. For orders weighing less than 5 lbs and customers within 10 miles of a participating fulfillment centre, a drone could fly a package direct to the customer within 30 minutes.

This…


For better or for worse, performing in front of green screens is the new normal.

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Photo by Ryan Garry at Unlimited Motion Ltd.

Sir Ian McKellan was reportedly reduced to tears while filming the first Hobbit film.

Apparently, the visual effects-heavy film required Shakespearean-trained McKellan to perform a significant portion of his role solo, and in front of a green screen for weeks on end.

For better or for worse, this is a new normal for actors in the 21st Century. Instead of pretending to be a wizard speaking to hobbits, McKellan had to pretend to be a wizard speaking to pretend hobbits.

Pretending to pretend is the…


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Photo by Robynne Hu on Unsplash

In 2016 Microsoft released an AI Twitter chatbot named Tay. Anyone interested in chatting with Tay could do so, and the more people chatted with it, the more it learned how to converse and engage with people. Sixteen hours after its release, Tay was taken down due to its tendency to tweet offensive messages, such as support for Adolf Hitler, calling for feminists to burn in hell, and advocating for a race war.

Apparently, people on Twitter had tweeted controversial things at Tay, thereby teaching it to converse in such a manner. …


Releasing genetically modified organisms into the wild could save millions of lives, but could herald a new age of uncontrolled ecological manipulation

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Photo by Syed Ali on Unsplash

Technological advancement imposes new moral quandaries.

The new reality is that people are increasingly able to make changes to DNA to serve specific purposes. Although genetically modified organisms (GMO) have been around for decades, the field of genetic engineering is entering a new phase due to converging factors of costs, regulations and science. One of the organisms at the new forefront of the new moral questions surrounding genetic modification is the mosquito.

Different laboratories around the world are…


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Artwork by Matt Pettigrew at Digital Absurdist

Political discourse between consenting adults can be exotic and deeply satisfying; however, for newcomers to politics, it is best to talk with your partner about a safe-word before engaging in discourse.

Political safe-words let your partner know when the discourse is getting too rough or weird. Saying your safe-word in the middle of a discourse lets your partner know when to stop, or when to go back to regular, vanilla political discourse such as gentle back and forth between center-left and center-right positions.

Choosing the right safe-word is crucial. If you choose a word that is too commonly used in…


Why tuition inflation and knowledge deflation requires adaptation

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Increasingly, top talent may be identified by dropping out first in their class, rather than graduating first in their class.

4.7% of applicants get accepted into Harvard. 98% of Harvard students graduate.

Your acceptance letter shows you are among the intellectual elite, while your degree certificate shows that you passed the required courses, along with 98% of your peers…. also that you spent 4 years and a lot of money.

Acceptance letters do more of the heavy lifting of establishing intellectual competence than graduation certificates.

With the Internet, you can learn any subject, anywhere, anytime. Wikipedia, YouTube, Coursera, Khan Academy, OpenCulture and many other platforms offer free learning spanning innumerable subjects. …

Matthew Pettigrew

Writer, animator and creator of digitalabsurdist.com + YouTube Channel.

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