The Andrew Mayne Magic Lecture
September 8th, 6 PM
North Shelby Public Library
5521 Cahaba Valley Rd., Birmingham, AL 35242
Judge Arnold Drennen Ring 35 of the IBM also known as the Magic City Magic Club
$20 for members, $25 for non-members, under 18 is $10, spouses are free.
September 9th, 7 PM
Coletta’s Italian Restaurant
2850 Appling Rd.
Memphis, TN 38133
$20 for IBM Ring 16 Members, $35 (for Non-Members,with $15.00 of this going to your Ring 16 dues)
September 10th, 7 PM
North Boulevard Church of Christ, 1112 N. Rutherford Blvd.
IBM Ring 252 Middle TN Magic Club (The Sam Walkoff Ring)
IBM Members is $5, Non IBM Members is $10
Here are my Northern California lecture dates. Please pass them around. I expect all of you to be there.
June 27th 7 p.m.
1492 N. Clark St. #104 Fresno, CA 93703
June 28th 7 p.m.
Miraloma Park Improvement Club
350-O’Shaughnesy Blvd., San Francisco
June 30th 7:30 p.m.
7704 Fair oaks Blvd. Carmichael, CA. 95608-1706
When the citizens of Boston begin to go missing in the fog in 1890, it’s up to the mysterious Smith, inventor and adventurer, to figure out what’s going on with the help of his assistant, April Malone. They’ll have to face off against a secret society, corrupt policemen and a mad psychologist hell-bent on dissecting Smith, in order to find out what’s going on and to save the city from a graver threat.
This 45,000 word science adventure novella is the first story about Smith, a mixture of Tony Stark, Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who.
There’s been a little bit of buzz about Bitcoin, a new online currency, you can see their video below to listen to its creators describe it. It’s like someone looked at gold farming in World of Warcraft and decided it would really be more useful if you could get rid of all that questing and fighting.
I’m working on a new science fiction book and part of the focus is on a post-Singularity economy (in a very small way). Generally I prefer to just read what folks like Matt Ridley and others have to say on economics and the like, but I thought I’d offer up some of my thoughts on Bitcoin, as it’s an area I’m very interested in.
Before we get to my criticisms (and possible solution) I want to emphasize that I am very, very encouraged that people like the ones behind Bitcoin are spending some of their cognitive surplus on complex problems like this. My reaction comes from somebody who is reasonably knowledgeable about markets and economics and very forward thinking.
Here are the four biggest problem I have with the concept and why it I can’t see it being anything other than a fascination for geeks who spend too much time inside game economies (like me):
1. It doesn’t represent anything.
Casino chips, McDonald’s gift cards, actual money, all represent something. Either assets sitting somewhere (your money or Big Macs) waiting to be collected, or promises to repay based upon anticipated earnings via taxes, etc.
Bitcoins are just artificially generated certificates. They have no intrinsic value. While the same can be said for actual money under present conditions, money is at least theoretically tied to assets like future earnings. Its backed by real assets or contracts for such.
2. Even in-game currencies have value that Bitcoin doesn’t.
If you spend your day collecting virtual gold inside of World of Warcraft, there’s a market for that gold based upon assets (weapons, etc.) made available by Blizzard inside that game. Blizzard backs that market.
Bitcoins aren’t backed by anyone. The market for them right now is a novelty one, like Monopoly money during a game. Users of Bitcoin are playing a kind of game with them. Pointing to someone who accepts Bitcoins as currency for real goods isn’t necessarily the sign of a thriving market. It’s more of a novelty stunt than anything else right now.
3. It feels scammy.
Whose to benefit the most from Bitcoin? The early adopters. The creators and people who already have their computers running now to generate coins. Like Amyway, getting in early is where the money is at. As the currency inflates and they reach the 21 million coin limit, those early coins become more valuable.
The only way for people who are spending their time making Bitcoins now to ever see any value in their efforts is to talk other people into using it. Because of that whole lack of intrinsic value thing, if people ignore Bitcoin, all those coins have no value.
4. It’s wasteful.
Creating Bitcoins using unnecessarily complicated algorithms wastes energy. For every Bitcoin that’s minted, there’s a net loss of energy and computational resources that can never be regained. One of the problems of physical money is that you’ll never regain the costs from printing or stamping it. Bitcoin is arbitrarily wasteful and every virtual coin is born into this world with a negative intrinsic value. Why repeat the inefficiencies of actual currency?
I get that Bitcoin is based upon the gold farming concept for WoW, but that was a scheme designed for a game to *replicate* how the real world works (spending time and resources to create things of value). Taking the virtual version of a real world situation and trying to bring it back into the real world without producing any real world value is silly.
A better idea
I think some of the ideas behind Bitcoin are genius. I love the idea that people are trying to solve the problems of currencies, government devaluation and other issues facing money. I don’t think the answer is another arbitrary currency that’s little more than a digital certificate. I think a better solution could be created using some of the core ideas about transparency, etc.
Trade computational cycles, not imaginary money
Instead of using computers to crank out imaginary coins from really long number sequences, create an economy based up using the computational cycles of other machines.
Computation has value. Bitcoin wastes it an artificial way. The work being done to generate the coins is arbitrary. Those computational cycles serve no other purpose than to prevent someone from creating too many coins at once. Why not create a real market? A market based upon things with value.
Imagine a piece of software like SETI @ Home or the protein folding project that lets you rent cycles on your computer for information processing. These cycles could then be exchanged for actual money or goods. Companies like Amazon’s S3 already do this. We know there’s a market for computation and can peg a value on it.
It would have to be secure of course, but I think the Bitcoin fanatics could see to that. You could then build very interesting APIs on top of it so other people could build applications that utilize those cycles. Complex photo rendering, factoring and other problems that slow people down could be sped up by making other computers available at the flip of a switch.
Users could set their own prices as to what rate they’ll lend out their computer’s processing time. When a job request goes out to the network, a price would be attached. The lowest (qualified) bidders would get the work. As soon as the job is completed, funds would be released to a payment gateway or a trusted third party.
Cycles could be bought and sold and even futures could be purchased, just like a real asset. Instead of an arbitrary certificate that has no value, we could generate value from some of the one billions PCs world-wide that spend most of their time dormant. Credits for computation could be exchanged for other things like bandwidth and energy and bypass money entirely.
Selling computational cycles on your machine is not a new idea. Given light of the attention being focused on Bitcoin and creating new currencies, I think it’s worthwhile to revisit the concept and create a virtual currency with real world value.
The world is out to kill Mitchell Roberts. A strange virus is on the loose sending everyone he comes in contact with into a homicidal rage. From narrowly avoiding getting murdered at his ex-girlfriend’s front door, to a crowded shopping mall turned one-man zombie apocalypse, he’s got to stay a step ahead of everyone around him if he doesn’t want to get ripped apart alive. He’ll need to use every resource he has, from the advice of a paranoid late night radio host, to his Twitter account and find out why he’s become Public Enemy Zero.
Public Enemy Zero is a 90,000 word full-length novel.
A spectator signs a card. They’re given an undeveloped photograph to hold. The card is lost back in the deck. Before their astonished eyes they watch as the photograph develops into an image of a hand holding their signed card.
Photosynthesis is a powerful way to reveal a word, an image or a signed card.
No camera required. Comes complete with the Photosynthesis gimmick and a 24 minute instructional DVD including several routines.
Photosynthesis is a utility prop you can use to make startling revelations. It looks like an ordinary undeveloped instant photograph but will reveal anything you like including words, cards, images and even signatures.
Photosynthesis gives you the magic of instant photography revelations without the need for film or an instant camera. Completely reusable, it’s heat activated and can be held in a spectator’s hands.
In non magic news, I’m happy to announce that my first work of fiction is now available as a book on the Kindle (which you can also read on iPads, iPods, Android and your desktop). It’s my take on a classic-style sci-fi tale.
Here’s the blurb:
When an unknown animal starts killing off settlers on a backwater planet run on coal and steam power, there’s only person who can help stop the slaughter; T.R. Westwood. A distinguished professor of biology and the galaxy’s greatest hunter, he’s the man to go to when the local wildlife needs to be reminded who is the galaxy’s top predator.
In a galaxy filled with millions of worlds, his specialty is evening the odds for the ones with technological restrictions. Rocks and spears or shotguns and canons, he’ll use whatever is allowed to get the job done.
It’s a 35,000 word novella mixing steampunk, western, horror and high adventure.
Instantly turn a slip of paper into the origami shape of the animal a person is visualizing in their mind. Turn a borrowed bill into a butterfly. Tear up a newspaper and produce an animated origami rabbit. Andrew Mayne presents The Origami Effect; powerful, visual magic that lets you give form to thoughts.
- The Origami Effect: A spectator thinks of an animal from a list of over 40 different origami shapes and you change the Post-It-Note into the animal instantly before their eyes.
- The Recycled Rabbit: Tear a sheet of newspaper to pieces and then restore it into an origami rabbit that can’t sit still. Great for kids and grown-ups alike. Takes only minutes to prepare.
- Psychic Origami: Borrow a dollar from a spectator and change it into the animal they’re visualizing in their mind. Includes multiple presentations.
- Wineglass Origami: A devious way to change a borrowed bill into an origami shape right under your spectator’s noses.
The Origami Effect is a one-on-one teach in style DVD. You’ll learn different handling techniques as well as Andrew’s extremely practical and deceptive method for forcing words and images.
Running time 65 minutes
Order now for just $19.95 and get free shipping.