Samstag, 24. Dezember 2011

On (implementation issues of) Virtual Stock Markets

After my recent post on prediction markets, I decided to implement a small auctioneer for virtual stock markets with two parties making deals, i.e. not a market maker mechanism but a (traditional) double auction. But, despite the simple idea behind a bid/ask driven market, the implementation has to take into account quite a number of details: can you buy/sell one unit or multiple units of a good at a time? Does trading occur at discrete events or is it continuous? Is pricing uniform (all trade at the same equilibirum price) or discriminatory (individual matching of bid/ask orders)? And, if one the two options is chosen, how is the price determined?

Donnerstag, 22. Dezember 2011

Reading Speed: Chinese vs English

I always wondered about mankind's languages and writing systems, one of the reasons I looked into Lojban (quite) a while ago. In an earlier post about writing systems I expressed my fascination about non-linear systems. But even with linear systems, we have alphabetic, syllabic and logographic systems. But it turns out the our systems are optimal in the sense that our cognitive abilities won't let us process more optimized systems, at least that is indicated by a study on reading speed with Chinese vs English - two major examples of logographic and alphabetic writing systems.

Mittwoch, 14. Dezember 2011

Futarchy: applying prediction markets

R. Hanson suggests to use prediction markets to make better use of information to evaluate strategies in politics. He calls the combination of democracy and speculative market information processing futarchy. There is a short manifesto and a full paper (PDF).

The central idea is: Use democracy to express what you want, use prediction markets to evaluate how to reach these goals. People can give strategies which are traded after paying a small fee; when they seem to be efficient the get a payback, otherwise they loose the fee. Thus good strategies are rewarded, bad ones are not rewarded but cost an extra fee. Augmented GDP and other indicators give a measured value to the state of the country.

Dienstag, 13. Dezember 2011

Physics: Faster-Than-Light Signals and Special Relativity; popular science articles by Ashtekar

Two things to link: The frenzy about findings and non-findings at the LHC pose a good reason to think about the possible implications. Therefore, an article by R.Geroch on the consistency of faster than light signals (e.g. neutrinos measured at the LHC) and special relativity (for example, due to partially breaking Lorentz invariance for neutrinos, but not all the other particles). There is also a blog post on FTL-neutrinos.

Moreover there is a bunch of popular science articles by A.Ashtekar (who is one of the founders of loop quantum gravity).

Montag, 12. Dezember 2011

Resources on Prediction Markets

Prediction Markets might be useful in modern politics - gathering crowd information (expected outcomes) and filtering experts from the crowd (i.e. successful traders in the market).

Just a bunch of links to read on the matter:

Mittwoch, 7. Dezember 2011

Epigenetic Effects of Tobacco: Increased sensitivity for drug addiction

A continuously updated blog post on the effects of tobacco and modern additives to human brain/bodies.

I really don't understand why there isn't a huge debate about a reevaluation of all drugs under the guidelines of modern drug research instead of this "legalize everything" debate. Stuff like Krokodil (see some effects after usage, even once or a few times at the google image search but be advised: very graphic ..) just isn't anything you should offer to try even under the assumption that people are behaving rational.

Sonntag, 27. November 2011

Nuclear Energy: Thorium Reactors

I recently discovered a small gap in my education in nuclear energy. It concerns LFTR reactors. They seem to be reconsidered after uranium based reactors were favored after world war 2 and the during the cold war due to their dual use in energy production as well as the generation of byproducs for nuclear weapons.

There are several videos on the google tech talk channlel, just two of those:

Freitag, 18. November 2011

Contemporary Physics

Just some physics stuff from recent news: An article at wired about recent findings at lhc/cern regarding the charge party violation and a confirmation about the (too) fast neurino measurements at the lhc.

Dienstag, 15. November 2011

Machine Learning (lecture) Videos

I haven't watched them all yet, but since I have only little background in machine learning, I find this to be highly enjoyable: Link to Machine Learning Videos. The videos were taking during a summer school: Link to the Summer School Website

Freitag, 11. November 2011

CogSci: The Role of Dreams in Great Discoveries

An article from scientific american about an "alternative state of consciousness" we enter when dreaming, allowing us to tackle problems we cannot understand consciously

Montag, 7. November 2011

Samstag, 5. November 2011

CogSci: Embodied Cognition and Consciousness

Arguing against a Descartian dualism and for a interconnection between brain and body, the article at scientific american blogs gives nice pointers and references for an embodiment point of view of cognition. It's interesting to see if there is some "mind" kind of core in the biomachine that the human being actually is. The normal bio-chemic interconnection between mind and body seems to be quite natural as the mind needs the body to survive (and stay healthy) in order to do so itself.

At the thoughts on thoughts blog you'll find a 3 part post on the possible functions of consciousness which is an interesting topic to think about, especially keeping in mind the aforementioned article:

[edit] Slightly related, there is another article on the work our subconscious does for us at the discovery magazine. [/edit]

Dienstag, 11. Oktober 2011

Some Commentaries on Politics

Project Syndicate features some interesting articles and commentaries about politics.

Project Syndicate: the world's pre-eminent source of original op-ed commentaries. A unique collaboration of distinguished opinion makers from every corner of the globe, Project Syndicate provides incisive perspectives on our changing world by those who are shaping its politics, economics, science, and culture. Exclusive, trenchant, unparalleled in scope and depth: Project Syndicate is truly A World of Ideas.

It includes authors like Ban Ki-moon, Christine Lagarde, Javier Solana, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Martin Feldstein, Otmar Issing, Peter Singer and many more.

Montag, 10. Oktober 2011

On the (Un-)Reality of Mathematics

I stumbled upon a paper by Barry Mazur titled "Mathematical Platonism and its Opposites" which points out a few things to keep in mind when thinking about the question: Is mathematics discovered or invented?


During the last 15 months, I discovered quite some interesting things....unfortunately I didn't post anything. Some of those discoveries will be posted here in near future.