Inside 206-105

Existential Pontification and Generalized Abstract Digressions

June, 2011

What Philosophy of Science Can Say for Software Engineers

I spent part of my year in Cambridge reading the History and Philosophy of Science course. It has been a thrilling and enlightening course, and I cannot recommend it highly enough for anyone lucky enough to take the HPS strand at Cambridge. Of course, I was a bit of an odd one out, since the […]

The Cryptography of Bitcoin

It is actually surprisingly difficult for a layperson to find out precisely what cryptography Bitcoin uses, without consulting the source of Bitcoin directly. For example, the opcode OP_CHECKSIG, ostensibly checks the signature of something... but there is no indication what kind of signature it checks! (What are opcodes in Bitcoin? Well it turns out that […]

Bitcoin is not decentralized

Bitcoin was designed by Satoshi Nakamoto, and the primary client is developed by a bunch of folks at bitcoin.org. Do you care who these people are? In theory, you shouldn’t: all they do is develop an open source client for an open source protocol. Anyone else can develop their own client (and some people have) […]