Crypto Speculation and Seneca

Seneca, Dying. At the Lourve; photo taken by me.

Approaching the physical age of 56, I am constantly reminded of Seneca’s thoughts on mortality.

You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire.

I’ve been trading in financial investments in some form or the other for the past 40+ years. Mostly stocks, some mutual funds and ETFs, and for the last 2-3 years, crpto currencies. My current crypto holdings are in Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Steem (Steem) and nem (XEM).

To be sure, investing is not for the faint of heart, and all investments require fortitude to stick with a plan, or abondon it when the plan is failing. Over the years, I’ve shaken off so many market corrections that I can’t even count them, simply because I know these happen, and stocks will eventually rise again to new hights. As Tony Robbins puts it in the title of his latest book, Unshakeable. (Here is the take-away from the book: Buy and keep buying the lowest load index ETF – I own SPY -, regardless of price, and don’t panic.)

Cryptocurrencies, especially BTC and ETH will rise , fall, then rise more again as well. No doubt. They are here to stay, and nothing can stop them. (And, before you ask, yes, I am bullish on STEEM and XEM or I would not hold them, or more importantly write on this platform).

But now, my investment horizon is starting to fuck with me in a way that I can’t quite get my head around. For 40+ years,, I’ve have been almost always fearless and unshakeable, but the confidence I have in Steem and other cryptos are coming into a conflict with my investment horizon, or what I commonly refer to as “having too much life at the end of the money, or too much money at the end of the life”.

This Seneca quote is particulary troublesome:

How stupid to forget our mortality, and put off sensible plans to our fiftieth and sixtieth years, aiming to begin life from a point at which few have arrived!

Cryptocurrencies, especially BTC, are crossing the chasm from the early adopters to the early majority. Just a week or so ago a colleague asked me which crypto he should buy. I don’t think he had ever seriously bought crypto before. This was the very morning that BTC hit an all-time high over $2700. I took some profits off the table right then.

Regardless, my bucket list is there, my mortality is there, and the knowledge that cryptos are the current and best wealth investment today are troubling me.

I am very interested in hearing others thoughts.

If you post a reply, please let me know at least your age (or any other thing that affects your investment horizon).

CERN and the Invention of the World Wide Web

CERN and the Invention of the World Wide Web

Recently I visited Europe, and the high point of the trip was my tour of CERN (wikipedia link).

After trying unsuccessfully to register for a tour, I decided to just go for it, and when I arrived at the visitor center, the group just leaving had extra space so I joined up.

High-energy particle physics probably bore most people, but for me, it was nerd heaven.CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid

The CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) facility is where the detector and control room are. I was able to go underground. Here is a selfie of me with the 2,000 ton detector:

CMS Detector

Birthplace of the World Wide Web

What many people don’t know is that the World Wide Web was invented at CERN by Sir Tim Berners-Lee. Not the Internet (the WWW is just a part of the Internet). Here is a photo of the first World Wide Web server (sorry about the low-quality, but it is housed in a weird globe), which is another remarkable footnote of computing history – Steve Jobs’ NeXT computer:

First WWW server at CERN


Al Gore and the Internet

Since we are on the subject, Al Gore did not proclaim to “invent” the Internet. What he did do is help create and nurture the Internet. That is in fact, true. When asked what distinguished him from his challenger in the 2000 Democratic Presidential nomination, he stated this:

During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country’s economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system.

As Vice President, Gore was in charge of promoting and developing the “Information Superhighway” and launched a number of initiatives that without a doubt placed him on the list of people that helped create what we know today as the Internet. Don’t believe me?

Vint Cerf (“Father of the Internet”) and his colleague Bob Kahn, who actually did create the Internet (along with others; it was a world-wide group effort) wrote this in response to the critique and ridicule of  Gore’s statement, which they felt was unjustifed.

Some Excerpts:

Al Gore was the first political leader to recognize the importance of the Internet and to promote and support its development.

…But as the two people who designed the basic architecture and the core protocols that make the Internet work, we would like to acknowledge VP Gore’s contributions as a Congressman, Senator and as Vice President. No other elected official, to our knowledge, has made a greater contribution over a longer period of time. [Emphasis mine]

The fact of the matter is that Gore was talking about and promoting the Internet long before most people were listening. We feel it is timely to offer our perspective.

As far back as the 1970s Congressman Gore promoted the idea of high speed telecommunications as an engine for both economic growth and the improvement of our educational system. He was the first elected official to grasp the potential of computer communications to have a broader impact than just improving the conduct of science and scholarship.

As Vice President Gore promoted building the Internet both up and out, as well as releasing the Internet from the control of the government agencies that spawned it. …Gore provided much-needed political support for the speedy privatization of the Internet when the time arrived for it to become a commercially-driven operation.

No one in public life has been more intellectually engaged in helping to create the climate for a thriving Internet than the Vice President. Gore has been a clear champion of this effort, both in the councils of government and with the public at large.

The Vice President deserves credit for his early recognition of the value of high speed computing and communication and for his long-term and consistent articulation of the potential value of the Internet to American citizens and industry and, indeed, to the rest of the world.

When the fathers of the Internet verify his help, it is real. So please give credit where credit is due.

SpaceX to Launch Today from Vandenberg, 11:54:34am CST

In it’s first attempt to launch since the catastrophic launchpad explosion at Canaveral on September 1, 2016, SpaceX is set to launch today from Vandenberg AFB.

The Falcon 9 rocket is lifting and placing 10 (each the size of a Mini Cooper) Iridium satellites into low-Earth orbit. This is the first of 7 launches to eventually place at least 70 Iridium satellites into orbit, updating the original satellites from 20 years ago. From SpaceX’s press kit, “The process of replacing the satellites one-by-one in a constellation of this size and scale has never been completed before.”

SpaceX has another objective as well: returning the first stage to Earth intact by landing it on “Just Read the Instructions”, a droneship in the Pacific Ocean.


The launch can be watched on the official SpaceX site,


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Fix Pressing Twice in Safari to Search

This is very annoying. I decided to do a clean install for my new MacBook, so some other tweaks that I apparently had from years before were lost. I guess.

But, one of the things that was very annoying on the new MacBook was that when I searched from the address bar, Safari was requiring me to press Enter twice. I was used to pressing it once.

Here is the fix:

Go to Safari Preferences, Search and disable “Include search engine suggestions”.

Presto, fixo!


Cord to Enter Production?

From The Truth About Cars, comes a report that the Cord brand maybe be resurrected. The 810 and 812 (“coffin-nose”) models are arguably some of the most beautiful cars ever made.

“…Craig Corbell, a Houston oil industry consultant and Cord aficionado, hopes to start production of new Cords.”

“…it is the iconic 810 model of 1936 that most enthusiasts associate with the brand. Featuring a low-slung, running board-free body, “coffin nose” prow and flip-up headlamps, the 810 (and 812 of 1937) remains a standout in the world of automobile styling.”

“…Corbell wants to have a display vehicle ready for the fall of 2017.”

Must be yellow: