Bitcoin – how it was perceived in 2013?

A talk from 2013 at TED(Technlogy, Entertainment and Design). Watch the talk, and think what is different in the talk in 2013 from what it is now in 2018 after nearly 5 years. Enjoy!

Around the time, I first heard about bitcoin and got mind blown when I realized it could potentially give birth to a global currency. I’m lucky to find the talk for you all again, while exploring the TED talks. Even though Bitcoin was born with the dream of being a global curerncy, however, now a days, it’s mainly being treated as a digital gold or asset where you invest your money with the hope for making profit. But when I knew about Bitcoin, I didn’t get excited by it’s profit-making ability, rather, I was excited by how a currency can be established without the authority of any government by simply using some mathematics, cryptography and algorithms. The beauty of mathematics and the power of internet mesmerized me in significant way and I started learning more. Since then, it has evolved so much, it has experienced so much, it’s been popularized all around the world, criminalized in countries, stolen, hacked and what not ! So, it may not turn into a currency. Who will buy his coffee today with 0.00036 BTC(~ 3 USD) which may be 360 USD (when 1 BTC ~ 1,000,000 USD) ? It sounds foolish. But trust me I have bought my dinner in an Indian restaurant named Khana Khazana in West Lafayette with bitcoin which will be worth more than that in 2020. I don’t regret it, because I didn’t care, what will be it’s value in future, rather that I and the fellow bitcoiners were more excited to be able to use bitcoin to buy our food. So, may be, not bitcoin, but some other crypto currency will be a global coin. Governments will now create their own crypto coin(https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/30/cryptocurrency-craze-springboards-government-backed-coin.html). But however the future will be, it’s gonna be an interesting one in terms of how we will use our money. When something is exciting, you can always smell it when you play with it, and this video just reminded me of my memories. Hope when I am old, I can say to my grandchildren that I was part of a monetary revolution.

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Fossil Record as a way to learn earth history

Who studies fossils? A Paleontologist. Why do paleontologists study fossils? Because fossil record brings information, provides clues, ideas about climatic changes of the planet, the evolution of geographical changes occurred on earth. For example, plant fossils and pollen fossils have been used to indicate climatic change of earth. To create geologic timescale, scientists have used fossils. We can see the fossil evolution during Paleogene period (over 66 Million years ago) in the image below. You can see the branches and subbranches in the image. The Subbotina trivialis (genus: Subbotina, species: trivialis) is highlighted in red.

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Evolution of Planktonic fossils during Paleogene period. The fossil image of Subbotina Trivialis has been shown in the rectangular yellow window. Subbotina Trivialis has found around 65.5 Million years ago.

Determining the age of fossil is very important and very challenging. Fossils are very often found in rocks and comparing one rock formation with another (relative dating), it’s possible to find a relative age for a fossil. Dating rocks involve calculating the rate of decay of radioactive element such as Carbon-14, Uranium-238, Potassium-40, Aluminium-26, Samarium-147, rubidiam-87, strontium-87. Fossilization is a rare event as there may not be any trace of an organism after its extinction. Therefore the record of an organism as the record of life in a fossil is something very significant to discover. The organism’s physical structure and subsequently deduced information such as it’s environment, diet, life-cycle can be obtained by studying fossils. Trace fossils, or fossilized marks left as a result of the activities of creatures such as trails, footprints, and burrows are also recorded and used as the source of information. From the fossil records throughout geologic time, scientists understood that the evolution of life is not a linear process. Sometimes the process is slow and sometimes it’s exponential. We also discovered that there might be periodicity in mass extinction by studying fossil records. Even the concept of plate tectonics was helped by fossil records. The more I am learning about fossils, the more exciting it’s becoming.