Curating the Internet: Science and technology micro-summaries for October 4, 2019

in rsslog •  19 days ago 

The importance of adversarial interoperability; An explanation of Segwit; An essay on the trust dilemma in a corporate supply chain; A perspective on the term, quantum supremacy (with a link to the recent Google paper); and a Steem essay on the nature of guilt

Fresh and Informative Content Daily: Welcome to my little corner of the blockchain

Straight from my RSS feed
Whatever gets my attention

Links and micro-summaries from my 1000+ daily headlines. I filter them so you don't have to.


pixabay license: source.

  1. Adversarial Interoperability - The article defines adversarial interoperability, saying, "that’s when you create a new product or service that plugs into the existing ones without the permission of the companies that make them." Beyond mere interoperability, the article says that adversarial interoperability is necessary for an innovative, dynamic, and competitive market place, and goes on to say that over the course of years, the big tech companies have secured regulations, laws, and court decisions that have eliminated adversarial interoperability from the tech landscape. The article closes with links to eight different articles on the topic from recent months. I'd like to go back and read all of them, but the ones that especially caught my attention are the last one: Adblocking: How About Nah? - which points out that ad blocking has done more to curb bad ads than any regulator, and argues that ad blocking is the largest consumer boycot in history; and the first: Interoperability: Fix the Internet, Not the Tech Companies - which offers a taxonomy of different types of interoperability and points out that you can't punish the tech companies by putting up regulations that guaranty them perpetual monopoly over their respective markets. It's interesting to observe that, by its very nature,te the Steem blockchain seems to guaranty some level of adversarial interoperability to all participants.

  2. SegWit, Explained - SegWit was an August, 2017 update to the Bitcoin protocol that separated transaction signatures from the rest of the transaction data in the block by moving into an off-chain structure known as the "Segwit root". According to the article, this prevents transactions from being changed prior to processing by the network, and it also enables more transactions to fit into a single block. The Segwit fork was a soft fork, which means that nodes are not required to adopt it, and as a result, only about 60-70% of transactions have adopted it. Additionally, some people object to moving transaction data out of the blockchain, which is the disagreement that led to BCH and BSV forks.

  3. Supply-Chain Security and Trust - Bruce Schneier points out that modern businesses and governments are faced with an impossible dilemma. They must trust computer products completely without being able to demonstrate that the products are trustworthy. This is the case because of at least three challenges: (i) Many parts are manufactured overseas - in as many as 100 different countries, so foreign adversaries may insert back doors; (ii) Many products in app stores like Google Play may have unpublished back doors; and (iii) Malicious software groups are increasingly targeting open source software in order to install back doors. Schneier proposes two solutions, but says that both are currently beyond our reach. First, we can get better at inspecting computer products for security flaws, or second, we can create secure systems that don't depend on the security of their components. As-of today, he says that perhaps the best we can do is to implement "half-solutions" and accelerate research for future improvement. He also notes that we must give up the fantasy that back doors can be inserted for law enforcement without also being exploited by malicious actors. This article was also published in the New York Times.

  4. Why I Called It ‘Quantum Supremacy’ - In 2012, John Preskill says he introduced the term, quantum supremacy, in order "describe the point where quantum computers can do things that classical computers can’t, regardless of whether those tasks are useful. He says that the term became controversial for two reasons. First, by association with the term, "white supremacy", and second because many people feel that quantum computing is being overyhyped. Despite the controversy, however, the term stuck. Now, in a recent paper, Google asserted that they have achieved a state of quantum supremacy. Preskill says that the achievement is noteworthy despite the facts that the problem was carefully selected to be suitable for the quantum architecture and that it has no practical use, because it marks a significant milestone. He also says that when he introduced the term, he also considered several others, including quantum advantage but none were quite as suitable for describing the accomplishment as a sort-of pivot point. The article also introduces a new term to the lexicon, "noisy intermediate-scale quantum" (NISQ), which describes the post-quantum supremacy state of quantum computing. In this state, quantum computers can solve particular problems that are inaccessible to classical computers, but they are still error prone, and if the problems are too difficult the answers are likely to be wrong.

  5. STEEM Talking About Guilt. - In this post, @abigail-dantes discusses guilt and its role in depression. Key points include the suggestion that regret over ones actions is generally healthy, but guilt can be carried too far because it goes beyond the action to the self, and it doesn't necessarily come with an expiration date. So the cycle of feeling guilty and blaming oneself can spiral endlessly into depression. The suggested method for dealing with regret is to: "(1) acknowledge the mistake, (2) learn from it, and (3) implement changes." Additionally, it is suggested to shift one's perspective from that of judge to that of detective. To accomplish this, some examples for self-assessment are given: Scrutinize one's actions, don't judge one's self; Introspection should drive learning, not recrimination; take responsibility for harmful results of wrong behaviors; and integrate lessons from an action into one's personal growth. (A 10% beneficiary has been assigned to this post for @abigail-dantes.)

In order to help make Steem the go to place for timely information on diverse topics, I invite you to discuss any of these links in the comments and/or your own response post.


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Hello @remlaps-lite :)

Thank you very much for including my post in this handpicked selection. I'm very interested in reading Supply-Chain Security and Trust. Bookmarked it has been. Also, I would like to thank you for the way you summarized my article. What a great, concise way of conveying the key topics I discussed over there. It's always very motivating when we see our work being so carefully addressed. And you do that with great competency!



You're welcome. And thank you for the feedback and the interesting post!

I'm glad you found Schneier's article to be interesting, too. He often has good insights. I guess I've been following his writing for a decade or more.

LOL I note my entire life is an example of adversarial interoperability.


As said in your other post, one should definitely read the google paper (the conclusions are sufficient for those who may not have plenty of time ;) ).

Have a nice week-end!

Thanks! Hope you have a nice week-end, too!

The article was definitely worth the read. Aside from the sheer accomplishment of crossing the quantum supremacy threshold, a couple other things also caught my attention.

For one, I'd like to know more about how they connect the supercooled components to the room temperature components. Another is their discussion of the Church-Turing thesis, pointing out that they may have created a model of computing that contradicts the thesis. After reading it, this seems obvious, but it still caught me by surprise because I hadn't thought about it at all.

Additionally, it's noteworthy that they expect their capabilities to continue growing at a double-exponential rate (Following "Neven's Law").

very good

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