Greetings from Palmia Observatory,
Well we are still mostly under cloudy skies and the DDA 52nd meeting is underway, but its been hard o abstract a blog comment from the mostly very technical sessions and it is not clear how to make a cogent summary now, so for now let's comment for now on other events in cryptocurrency, Starship orbital plans, terraforming Mars and end with a little QFT.
So, in recent blog posts some theoretical points about the nature of cryptocurrency were discussed, but now, finally, after a lot of effort, I was able to actually purchase some Bitcoin. As you can see, I now own 0.00100369 Bitcoins. This amount of bitcoins cost $50, which included a $1.99 transaction fee. If you want to buy a whole complete Bitcoin, be prepared to shell out $47,833 or whatever the current price of the Bitcoin happens to be.
|Transaction receipt from Coinbase for purchase of 0.00100369 Bitcoins (Source: Palmia Observatory)
Now, just in case you are wondering, I am not advocating purchasing any cryptocurrency, and my purchase in this example is just a test case to find out for myself what all is involved in the transaction. I am certainly not advocating speculating in bitcoins and am doing all of this as a research project only. It turns out that my first attempt at purchasing Bitcoin failed because my bank does not support or allow me to purchase Bitcoin. I tried to use my credit card, my ATM card, direct direct checking account transfer, and all of these failed because my bank does not allow me to purchase cryptocurrency.
I eventually discovered that I could use a second party purchasing service, like say PayPal, to actually complete the purchase. I still had to prove my identify and who I was so that any earnings from Bitcoin transactions are forwarded to the IRS to ensure that all income taxes are appropriately paid. The IRS considers this transaction as a sale of property, not currency. Hmm, what are we to make of all of this complication?
Well banks have some interest in preventing money laundering and scams to protect their customers, but at the same time the banks are worried about being frozen out of the currency and banking services market if cryptocurrency becomes more common place. The developing countries are projected to widely adapt cryptocurrency as a means of making financial transactions and savings because of the lack of brick and mortar banks. So, in the end, cryptocurrency might be coming regardless of what local banks here want. Cryptocurrency is a method of exchanging money and as a store of value that does not rely on a central authority, whether the authority is a bank or even a governmental authority.
In other cryptocurrency activity we see a growing interest in getting cryptocurrency to move to less energy intensive means of generating consensus and building the blockchain of transactions. Consensus is a good thing in that we all would want to know that all of the transactions are valid and immutable, but why does it take so much electrical energy to accomplish this goal? We went over it a bit in the last blog post, but recall that the consensus among world wide users of cryptocurrency is achieved by thousands of users burning up computer processing time and energy to decide who gets to update the block chain. Aren't there less energy intensive ways of accomplishing this goal?
It turns out that instead of using the "proof of work" concept and replacing it with "proof of space" concept uses much less energy, but it comes at the expense of having gigantic numbers of disk drives allocated to the concept, and these disk drives can only be used to store the needs of cryptocurrency. Check out this clip from May 15, 2021 edition of New Scientist. The photo shows a part of a cryptocurrency server farm in Nadvoitsy, Russia.
|Green bitcoin alternatives leads to disk drive shortages (Source: M. Sparkes, New Scientist, May 15)
Ok, let's return from cryptocurrency world to the world of space exploration with SpaceX Starship activity and plans for orbital flights with eventual trips to the Moon and Mars.
In this cell phone photo from, @ Free and Easy, we see the successful landing of Starship SN15. This photo confirms that our original plan of using a DSLR with 300mm lens and flimsly tripod on South Padre Island will be able to get some great shots of future Starship test lights.
|Starship SN15 launch and landing as seen with cell photo images (Source: @ Free and Easy)
For those of you who were wondering why not just rent a boat and head offshore near the Boca Chica beach, you best check out some boating and marine safety restrictions that are put in place on test launch days.
|Marine safety bulletin for Boca Chica area during Starship launches (Source: USCG)
In other Starship news, some of the early FCC approval documents describing the first orbital flight of Starship have been found. In the following sketch we see the planned recovery of the Starship booster stage, out in the Gulf of Mexico, while the Starship continues on to orbit. Landing of the booster on a barge at sea has been well verified with the landing of Falcon 9 boosters off of Cape Kennedy.
|Starship booster landing profile for orbital flight test (Source: FCC filings)
So after the Starship booster lands on a barge in the Gulf of Mexico, the Starship will continue on an orbital flight and at least for this test flight land off the coast of Hawaii. In this next screenshot, you can see the concept and some of the technical details of the flight.
|Starship orbital flight details for planned landing off of Hawaii (Source: FCC filings)
|Can Martian CO2 be re-stabilized in the atmosphere? (Source: J. Kakosky, AIAA, May 15)
Finally for all of you physicist wannabes out there who are still struggling to make your way through Quantum Field Theory, this short sequence of equations, abstracted from a paper by David Tong, demonstrates the equivalence of the Hamiltonian approach for the harmonic oscillator can be considered mathematically equivalent to a QFT formulation in terms of creation and annihilation operators. I had always wondered how textbook authors made the jump to creation operators and moving away from potential and kinetic energy formations, to this modern QFT approach, and now it seems clear how to do that without a lot of hand waving. I finally see how it works. Pretty neat!
|Equivalence of Hamiltonian & creation/annihilation operators (Source: David Tong, QFT, 2007)
Until next time, here from our burrow, stay safe, as we recover more of our freedom,