Blog (Random Opinions)
The Limits of Shannon Entropy in Information Theory (08/2019)
Claude Shannon spawned the concept of information entropy along with the source coding theorem in 1948. In terms of the year of its inception, to put this in perspective 512 bytes of main memory was considered to be a profound technical achievement in 1951 — something that, perhaps, only a governmental agency or similar could achieve. It is reasonable to speculate that Shannon probably would not have been able to predict the colossal technological revolution that has taken place in the 21st century; as of 2019, 16 GB (or 17179869184 bytes) of main memory is relatively common in home desktop PCs. In certain computing applications, such as bioinformatics for example, vast tandemly repeating data sets at the byte level are commonplace; data sets of this nature are beyond the scope of Shannon's source coding theorem and information entropy. To reiterate, without the benefit of hindsight Shannon could not have predicted that an important application (i.e., bioinformatics) in which hundreds of millions of repeating byte-level characters would have any sort of utility. Although entropy is still useful in a variety of data compression applications, such as Context Adaptive Binary Arithmetic Coding (CABAC) in video coding, its estimations are often no longer relevant for certain byte-level compression applications.
Cyberbullying and Facebook (05/2019)
There exists evidence that certain types of Facebook user evolve into friend-collecting cyberbullies. From a psychological viewpoint, behaviour of this nature may act as a self-preservation mechanism that regulates the self-esteem of such individuals. Certain studies suggest that these types of Facebook user are much more likely to suffer from a severe personality disorder, such as narcissistic personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder and/or histrionic personality disorder. It is interesting to note that Facebook users with severe personality disorders are typically duplicitous, passive-aggressive and belligerent whilst engaging in Facebook communications with "friends". In other words, Facebook users with severe personality disorders may have an inherent predisposition in terms of instigating vicious communications. Cyberbullying on Facebook — or any other social media platform, for that matter — is an odious phenomenon that is presently out of control. Disturbingly, there have been documented cases in which cyberbullying victims, typically in their teens, have committed suicide (usually because the cyberbullying has escalated to an extreme level). It is important to note, however, that suicide — as a consequence of cyberbullying — is somewhat rare; it is on the extremely severe end of the cyberbullying spectrum. Nevertheless, being the victim of such torment can give rise to serious psychiatric illnesses including severe depression, panic disorder and post traumatic stress disorder, all of which can have a disastrous impact on the victim's aptitude and potential.
Bitcoin, Tether and Cryptocurrency Market Manipulation (04/2019)
Bitcoin, though clever from a cryptographic perspective, is very likely operating as a colossal Ponzi scheme. This view is seemingly shared by numerous individuals and corporations including the Bank for International Settlements (PDF), which is the so-called "central bank for central banks". The overwhelming vast majority of bitcoins (i.e., BTC/XBT) that exist in the Bitcoin blockchain are evidently tightly held by very early investors and also mining conglomerates who possess an inordinate amount of hashing power. Only a tiny fraction of available BTC/XBT is traded on both regulated (and unregulated) exchanges, which makes it ripe for extreme price manipulation by virtue of disingenuous trading techniques including "painting the tape" and wash trading. Furthermore, USDT — the Tether token utilised on the Omni protocol within the Bitcoin protocol, which is pegged to $1 — appears to be inextricably linked to the price manipulation of BTC/XBT. I believe that the so-called "whales" who hold the vast majority of BTC/XBT in circulation have cornered the market to a considerable degree. These individuals are, in my opinion, using USDT to manipulate BTC/XBT prices in order to benefit from CFTC-regulated futures contracts in the United States (US). That is, these fraudsters short BTC/XBT futures when the BTC/XBT price has been artificially pumped and, conversely, they long BTC/XBT futures when the BTC/XBT price has been artificially dumped; this is analogous to the Hunt brothers' cornering of the silver market and subsequent US futures contracts manipulation in the early 1980s.
Against Mathematical Platonism and Scientism (04/2019)
In terms of the philosophy of mathematics, I lean towards formalism. Formalism posits the idea that numbers, axioms and mathematical theories are, in essence, arbitrary products of the subjective human mind; they can be considered as social constructions and abstract objects. David Hilbert, the historically significant mathematician and mathematical formalist, asserted the following: “Mathematics is a game played according to certain simple rules with meaningless marks on paper.” With respect to the philosophy of science, I contend that all laws, theories and models in the natural sciences — including established laws and theories in physics, chemistry and biology — are provisional until they are eventually falsified. Falsification, theory refinement and radical theory change have occurred consistently throughout human history; I believe that this trend will continue indefinitely. Regarding the philosophical foundations of the scientific method, it is evident that the large majority of physicists are, in essence, logical positivists; they typically believe that only empirical observation, mathematics, reason and logic are capable of leading to meaningful truths. It can be argued that these types presupposition often give rise to a series of unjustified physicalistic assumptions. For example, a vast number of physicists assume, without question, that the fundamental constants employed by physics are universal. For example, the speed of light (in a vacuum) c = 299,792,458 m/s is assumed to be constant in all regions within the universe. This essentially constitutes a mathematical Platonistic assumption that is not, at present (and probably never will be), testable empirically.