A New Universal World Currency

By Kain on Thu 5 January 2012

With all of this talk of fiat currencies and their imminent collapse, what do we do? How do we price things so that we are free from the inflation of the “printing press” economy? Gold is a widely-talked-about standard, the most stable standard for money throughout history. But how do we initiate that in practice, particularly in today’s society, geared heavily on digital payments?

We could use the “gg” (gold gram) as a standard, with 1 gg being 1/31.1034768 troy ounce. At $1600 per ounce, this is $51.44 per gram, or about 5 cents per milligram. This makes milligrams of gold to be a good standard unit to use. But, of course, the gram is defined as 1/1000 of the mass of a chunk of platinum-iridium alloy held in Paris (as shown here). This can be changed; not that it will, the scientific community will be outraged, and rightly so, were this to happen. But it suffers the same problem as the coins of old, in that if the platinum “master kilogram” were to be hacked away at, it has further repercussions than just the financial stability. (This would actually increase the value of physical gold in circulation.)

But, what is the smallest unit of gold that we can imagine, that isn’t dependent on any other measurement? Of course, that would be a single atom. So, we can use atoms of gold. The only stable isotope of gold is 197Au with an atomic mass of 196.966568662, or 3.270707×10-22 g, an amount too small to work with. We are saved by chemist Amedeo Avogadro, who gives us a fixed conversion from atomic mass units to grams. Thus, 6.02214×1023 of any substance measured in atomic units (particles, atoms, molecules) has a mass of that same number of grams.

So, one mole of gold, ie 6.02214×1023 atoms of gold has a mass of 196.966568662 g, and a value (at $1579.124672 per ounce, which it was a few days ago, 22:45 02 Jan 2011 to be more precise) of exactly $10000. This gives us another couple of units, a millimole of gold (mmolAu) of $10, and a micromole of gold (µmolAu) worth one cent. Alternatively, using a unit of one ten-thousandth of a mole, say, a “shi-mole” (“sī” is an ancient Chinese word for one-ten-thousandth, which entered Japanese as “shi”), also known as “that female rat-thing”. Thus, at this price, one shi-mole of gold (I’ll use the symbol §) is conveniently $1. It is only good for that point in time, but it serves as a good and convenient index to base dollar-to-gold pricing from. So, just take the dollar amount multiplied by the price of gold in ounces, and divide by 1579.124672, to get a figure in §. So at $1600 per ounce, $20 is worth §19.74; and at $10000 per ounce, only §3.16.

Topics: Finance, Geopolitics, Science/Mathematics | No Comments »

Don’t Think of an Elephant

By Kain on Tue 3 January 2012

by George Lakoff is a good resource on the psychological tools used by the right to frame the issues, in contexts that make them seem “sensible” to people. The main point is, when facts disagree with the frame, it is human nature to discard the facts, or alter them to fit the frame. The main types of frame are the nurturant family versus the disciplinarian father (you can guess which is which). He discusses the various “values” of the right: fiscal conservatism, abortion, same-sex marriages, etc, and how the conservative view fits in with the disciplinarian frame.

For example, fiscal conservatism is viewed as the individual being disciplined enough to make it to the top 1%, and those who are poor are poor because they are undisciplined, so they must be punished and shouldn’t have social programs such as welfare and medicare. This is why they advocate tax cuts, not so much to consolidate more wealth in the hands of the upper echelon, but also to ensure that once their pet departments are sated: defence, prisons, and police, there is no money in the pot for social programs.

The left needs to reframe the issues, for instance, by showing that there is no such thing as a self-made billionaire; every one of them has had some benefit from government programs, ranging from modern medicine to the Internet, to the road infrastructure, all of which were provided from tax revenues.

Topics: Book Reviews, Finance, Geopolitics | No Comments »

The Sopa Bubble

By Kain on Fri 23 December 2011

You know, this video is perversely the exact reason for SOPA to go ahead.


Why? there’s enough ammo in that video to shut down the websites of Big Media, the main proponents of the bill… and cut off their funding… part of the bill’s requirements include US-based payment processors, such as Visa and Mastercard to cut them off. Watch how quickly they will reverse their position, once they are the target of this legislation,

The irony is, you don’t even need any ammo; the idea is, for only an allegation to be made to shut a site down. This leaves it open to all kinds of abuse, which is no doubt the real intention of Big Media. Any site publishing a less-than-glowing review of a media production can just be shut down. It is then the onus of the site owner, to demonstrate that they didn’t have any pirated content; this will involve extensive (and expensive) legal costs, more so than the average individual blogger can bear — it’s a case of guilty until proven innocent. Besides, all they need to do is have one of their own agents-provocateurs post a comment containing a pirate link, for the site to be in violation.

They’re even going as far as trying to ban VPN software, making things like Hide My Ass just for foreigners with Roku boxes or trying to use Hulu or US Netflix. But, such bans will be about as effective as Chinese anti-gambling laws (“It’s not very effective.”).

Unless used against Big Media first, the bill will do nothing to stop media piracy, but instead will stifle any sort of free speech that is remotely critical of Big Media.

(Oymyakon update: -52°C)

Topics: Geopolitics | No Comments »

RIP Dear Reader (Juche 30-100)

By Kain on Wed 21 December 2011

Topics: Geopolitics, Humour | No Comments »

Eine Welt, Ein Nett, Ein Programm

By Kain on Wed 26 October 2011

“One World, One Net, One Program” – Microsoft ad for Internet Explorer
“Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Führer” – Adolf Hitler

Whoever invokes Godwin’s Law has lost THE GAME.
Microsoft has invoked Godwin’s Law.

I WIN!!!111ONE!11!ONE1!

Topics: Geopolitics, Humour | No Comments »

Last month, a worldwide survey was conducted by the UN

By Kain on Wed 1 October 2008

The only question asked was:  ‘Would you please give your honest opinion about solutions to the food shortage in the rest of the world?’

The survey was a huge failure because of the following:
In Eastern Europe they didn’t know what “honest” meant.
In Western Europe they didn’t know what “shortage” meant.
In Africa they didn’t know what “food” meant.
In China they didn’t know what “opinion” meant.
In the Middle East they didn’t know what “solution” meant.
In South America they didn’t know what “please” meant.
In the US they didn’t know what “the rest of the world” meant.

Topics: Geopolitics, Humour | 1 Comment »