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Katherine Kornei

Katherine Kornei

2 years ago

The InSight lander from NASA has recorded the greatest tremor ever felt on Mars.

The magnitude 5 earthquake was responsible for the discharge of energy that was 10 times greater than the previous record holder.

Any Martians who happen to be reading this should quickly learn how to duck and cover.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, reported that on May 4, the planet Mars was shaken by an earthquake of around magnitude 5, making it the greatest Marsquake ever detected to this point. The shaking persisted for more than six hours and unleashed more than ten times as much energy as the earthquake that had previously held the record for strongest.

The event was captured on record by the InSight lander, which is operated by the United States Space Agency and has been researching the innards of Mars ever since it touched down on the planet in 2018 (SN: 11/26/18). The epicenter of the earthquake was probably located in the vicinity of Cerberus Fossae, which is located more than 1,000 kilometers away from the lander.

The surface of Cerberus Fossae is notorious for being broken up and experiencing periodic rockfalls. According to geophysicist Philippe Lognonné, who is the lead investigator of the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, the seismometer that is onboard the InSight lander, it is reasonable to assume that the ground is moving in that area. "This is an old crater from a volcanic eruption."

Marsquakes, which are similar to earthquakes in that they give information about the interior structure of our planet, can be utilized to investigate what lies beneath the surface of Mars (SN: 7/22/21). And according to Lognonné, who works at the Institut de Physique du Globe in Paris, there is a great deal that can be gleaned from analyzing this massive earthquake. Because the quality of the signal is so high, we will be able to focus on the specifics.

More on Science

Tomas Pueyo

Tomas Pueyo

11 months ago

Soon, a Starship Will Transform Humanity

SpaceX's Starship.

Source

Launched last week.

Four minutes in:

SpaceX will succeed. When it does, its massiveness will matter.

Source

Its payload will revolutionize space economics.

Civilization will shift.

We don't yet understand how this will affect space and Earth culture. Grab it.

The Cost of Space Transportation Has Decreased Exponentially

Space launches have increased dramatically in recent years.

We mostly send items to LEO, the green area below:

I always had a hard time remembering that LEO stands for Low-Earth Orbit. Now I imagine a lion orbiting the Earth, and that did the trick.

SpaceX's reusable rockets can send these things to LEO. Each may launch dozens of payloads into space.

With all these launches, we're sending more than simply things to space. Volume and mass. Since the 1980s, launching a kilogram of payload to LEO has become cheaper:

Falcon Heavy is the heavy rocket from SpaceX. Notice this is a logarithmic scale! The Falcon Heavy was SpaceX’s biggest rocket yet. It will soon be superseded by Starship.

One kilogram in a large rocket cost over $75,000 in the 1980s. Carrying one astronaut cost nearly $5M! Falcon Heavy's $1,500/kg price is 50 times lower. SpaceX's larger, reusable rockets are amazing.

SpaceX's Starship rocket will continue. It can carry over 100 tons to LEO, 50% more than the current Falcon heavy. Thousands of launches per year. Elon Musk predicts Falcon Heavy's $1,500/kg cost will plummet to $100 in 23 years.

In context:

Angara was the rocket that previously held the record for cheapest transportation to LEO.

People underestimate this.

2. The Benefits of Affordable Transportation

Compare Earth's transportation costs:

Source: US Department of Transportation.

It's no surprise that the US and Northern Europe are the wealthiest and have the most navigable interior waterways.

The Mississippi River is one of the biggest systems of navigable waterways on Earth. And on top of that, navigation along the US’s Mexican Gulf and East Coast is protected by a series of islands, making sea shipping easier than in the open ocean.European navigable waterways

So what? since sea transportation is cheaper than land. Inland waterways are even better than sea transportation since weather is less of an issue, currents can be controlled, and rivers serve two banks instead of one for coastal transportation.

In France, because population density follows river systems, rivers are valuable. Cheap transportation brought people and money to rivers, especially their confluences.

Look at the population. Can you see dark red lines? Those are people living close to rivers. You can guess where the rivers are by looking at the map. Also, you can see the bigger cities are always at the confluence between rivers.

How come? Why were humans surrounding rivers?

Imagine selling meat for $10 per kilogram. Transporting one kg one kilometer costs $1. Your margin decreases $1 each kilometer. You can only ship 10 kilometers. For example, you can only trade with four cities:

If instead, your cost of transportation is half, what happens? It costs you $0.5 per km. You now have higher margins with each city you traded with. More importantly, you can reach 20-km markets.

However, 2x distance 4x surface! You can now trade with sixteen cities instead of four! Metcalfe's law states that a network's value increases with its nodes squared. Since now sixteen cities can connect to yours. Each city now has sixteen connections! They get affluent and can afford more meat.

Rivers lower travel costs, connecting many cities, which can trade more, get wealthy, and buy more.

The right network is worth at least an order of magnitude more than the left! The cheaper the transport, the more trade at a lower cost, the more income generated, the more that wealth can be reinvested in better canals, bridges, and roads, and the wealth grows even more.

Throughout history. Rome was established around cheap Mediterranean transit and preoccupied with cutting overland transportation costs with their famous roadways. Communications restricted their empire.

This map shows the distance from Rome in terms of days of travel. The size of the Roman Empire was about five weeks of travel. This is not a coincidence. Source: Orbis, the Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World

The Egyptians lived around the Nile, the Vikings around the North Sea, early Japan around the Seto Inland Sea, and China started canals in the 5th century BC.

Transportation costs shaped empires.Starship is lowering new-world transit expenses. What's possible?

3. Change Organizations, Change Companies, Change the World

Starship is a conveyor belt to LEO. A new world of opportunity opens up as transportation prices drop 100x in a decade.

Satellite engineers have spent decades shedding milligrams. Weight influenced every decision: pricing structure, volumes to be sent, material selections, power sources, thermal protection, guiding, navigation, and control software. Weight was everything in the mission. To pack as much science into every millimeter, NASA missions had to be miniaturized. Engineers were indoctrinated against mass.

No way.

Starship is not constrained by any space mission, robotic or crewed.

Starship obliterates the mass constraint and every last vestige of cultural baggage it has gouged into the minds of spacecraft designers. A dollar spent on mass optimization no longer buys a dollar saved on launch cost. It buys nothing. It is time to raise the scope of our ambition and think much bigger. — Casey Handmer, Starship is still not understood

A Tesla Roadster in space makes more sense.

Starman, the roadster, and the Earth. Source.

It went beyond bad PR. It told the industry: Did you care about every microgram? No more. My rockets are big enough to send a Tesla without noticing. Industry watchers should have noticed.

Most didn’t. Artemis is a global mission to send astronauts to the Moon and build a base. Artemis uses disposable Space Launch System rockets. Instead of sending two or three dinky 10-ton crew habitats over the next decade, Starship might deliver 100x as much cargo and create a base for 1,000 astronauts in a year or two. Why not? Because Artemis remains in a pre-Starship paradigm where each kilogram costs a million dollars and we must aggressively descope our objective.

An overengineer at work

Space agencies can deliver 100x more payload to space for the same budget with 100x lower costs and 100x higher transportation volumes. How can space economy saturate this new supply?

Before Starship, NASA supplied heavy equipment for Moon base construction. After Starship, Caterpillar and Deere may space-qualify their products with little alterations. Instead than waiting decades for NASA engineers to catch up, we could send people to build a space outpost with John Deere equipment in a few years.

History is littered with the wreckage of former industrial titans that underestimated the impact of new technology and overestimated their ability to adapt: Blockbuster, Motorola, Kodak, Nokia, RIM, Xerox, Yahoo, IBM, Atari, Sears, Hitachi, Polaroid, Toshiba, HP, Palm, Sony, PanAm, Sega, Netscape, Compaq, GM… — Casey Handmer, Starship is still not understood

Everyone saw it coming, but senior management failed to realize that adaption would involve moving beyond their established business practice. Others will if they don't.

4. The Starship Possibilities

It's Starlink.

SpaceX invented affordable cargo space and grasped its implications first. How can we use all this inexpensive cargo nobody knows how to use?

Satellite communications seemed like the best way to capitalize on it. They tried. Starlink, designed by SpaceX, provides fast, dependable Internet worldwide. Beaming information down is often cheaper than cable. Already profitable.

Starlink is one use for all this cheap cargo space. Many more. The longer firms ignore the opportunity, the more SpaceX will acquire.

What are these chances?

Satellite imagery is outdated and lacks detail. We can improve greatly. Synthetic aperture radar can take beautiful shots like this:

This radar image acquired by the SIR-C/X-SAR radar on board the Space Shuttle Endeavour shows the Teide volcano. The city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is visible as the purple and white area on the lower right edge of the island. Lava flows at the summit crater appear in shades of green and brown, while vegetation zones appear as areas of purple, green and yellow on the volcano’s flanks. Source.

Have you ever used Google Maps and thought, "I want to see this in more detail"? What if I could view Earth live? What if we could livestream an infrared image of Earth?

The fall of Kabul. Source: Maxar

We could launch hundreds of satellites with such mind-blowing visual precision of the Earth that we would dramatically improve the accuracy of our meteorological models; our agriculture; where crime is happening; where poachers are operating in the savannah; climate change; and who is moving military personnel where. Is that useful?

What if we could see Earth in real time? That affects businesses? That changes society?

Bob Service

Bob Service

1 year ago

Did volcanic 'glasses' play a role in igniting early life?

Quenched lava may have aided in the formation of long RNA strands required by primitive life.

It took a long time for life to emerge. Microbes were present 3.7 billion years ago, just a few hundred million years after the 4.5-billion-year-old Earth had cooled enough to sustain biochemistry, according to fossils, and many scientists believe RNA was the genetic material for these first species. RNA, while not as complicated as DNA, would be difficult to forge into the lengthy strands required to transmit genetic information, raising the question of how it may have originated spontaneously.

Researchers may now have a solution. They demonstrate how basaltic glasses assist individual RNA letters, also known as nucleoside triphosphates, join into strands up to 200 letters long in lab studies. The glasses are formed when lava is quenched in air or water, or when melted rock generated by asteroid strikes cools rapidly, and they would have been plentiful in the early Earth's fire and brimstone.

The outcome has caused a schism among top origin-of-life scholars. "This appears to be a great story that finally explains how nucleoside triphosphates react with each other to create RNA strands," says Thomas Carell, a scientist at Munich's Ludwig Maximilians University. However, Harvard University's Jack Szostak, an RNA expert, says he won't believe the results until the study team thoroughly describes the RNA strands.

Researchers interested in the origins of life like the idea of a primordial "RNA universe" since the molecule can perform two different functions that are essential for life. It's made up of four chemical letters, just like DNA, and can carry genetic information. RNA, like proteins, can catalyze chemical reactions that are necessary for life.

However, RNA can cause headaches. No one has yet discovered a set of plausible primordial conditions that would cause hundreds of RNA letters—each of which is a complicated molecule—to join together into strands long enough to support the intricate chemistry required to kick-start evolution.

Basaltic glasses may have played a role, according to Stephen Mojzsis, a geologist at the University of Colorado, Boulder. They're high in metals like magnesium and iron, which help to trigger a variety of chemical reactions. "Basaltic glass was omnipresent on Earth at the time," he adds.

He provided the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution samples of five different basalt glasses. Each sample was ground into a fine powder, sanitized, and combined with a solution of nucleoside triphosphates by molecular biologist Elisa Biondi and her colleagues. The RNA letters were unable to link up without the presence of glass powder. However, when the molecules were mixed with the glass particles, they formed long strands of hundreds of letters, according to the researchers, who published their findings in Astrobiology this week. There was no need for heat or light. Biondi explains, "All we had to do was wait." After only a day, little RNA strands produced, yet the strands continued to grow for months. Jan Paek, a molecular biologist at Firebird Biomolecular Sciences, says, "The beauty of this approach is its simplicity." "Mix the components together, wait a few days, and look for RNA."

Nonetheless, the findings pose a slew of problems. One of the questions is how nucleoside triphosphates came to be in the first place. Recent study by Biondi's colleague Steven Benner suggests that the same basaltic glasses may have aided in the creation and stabilization of individual RNA letters.

The form of the lengthy RNA strands, according to Szostak, is a significant challenge. Enzymes in modern cells ensure that most RNAs form long linear chains. RNA letters, on the other hand, can bind in complicated branching sequences. Szostak wants the researchers to reveal what kind of RNA was produced by the basaltic glasses. "It irritates me that the authors made an intriguing initial finding but then chose to follow the hype rather than the research," Szostak says.

Biondi acknowledges that her team's experiment almost probably results in some RNA branching. She does acknowledge, however, that some branched RNAs are seen in species today, and that analogous structures may have existed before the origin of life. Other studies carried out by the study also confirmed the presence of lengthy strands with connections, indicating that they are most likely linear. "It's a healthy argument," says Dieter Braun, a Ludwig Maximilian University origin-of-life chemist. "It will set off the next series of tests."

Sara_Mednick

Sara_Mednick

1 year ago

Since I'm a scientist, I oppose biohacking

Understanding your own energy depletion and restoration is how to truly optimize

Photo: Towfiqu barbhuiya / Unsplash

Hack has meant many bad things for centuries. In the 1800s, a hack was a meager horse used to transport goods.

Modern usage describes a butcher or ax murderer's cleaver chop. The 1980s programming boom distinguished elegant code from "hacks". Both got you to your goal, but the latter made any programmer cringe and mutter about changing the code. From this emerged the hacker trope, the friendless anti-villain living in a murky hovel lit by the computer monitor, eating junk food and breaking into databases to highlight security system failures or steal hotdog money.

Remember the 1995 movie, Hackers, in which a bunch of super cool programmers (said no one ever) get caught up in a plot to destroy the world and only teenybopper Angelina Jolie and her punk rock gang of nerd-bots can use their lightening quick typing skills to save the world? Remember public phones?

Now, start-a-billion-dollar-business-from-your-garage types have shifted their sights from app development to DIY biology, coining the term "bio-hack". This is a required keyword and meta tag for every fitness-related podcast, book, conference, app, or device.

Bio-hacking involves bypassing your body and mind's security systems to achieve a goal. Many biohackers' initial goals were reasonable, like lowering blood pressure and weight. Encouraged by their own progress, self-determination, and seemingly exquisite control of their biology, they aimed to outsmart aging and death to live 180 to 1000 years (summarized well in this vox.com article).

With this grandiose north star, the hunt for novel supplements and genetic engineering began.

Companies selling do-it-yourself biological manipulations cite lab studies in mice as proof of their safety and success in reversing age-related diseases or promoting longevity in humans (the goal changes depending on whether a company is talking to the federal government or private donors).

The FDA is slower than science, they say. Why not alter your biochemistry by buying pills online, editing your DNA with a CRISPR kit, or using a sauna delivered to your home? How about a microchip or electrical stimulator?

What could go wrong?


I'm not the neo-police, making citizen's arrests every time someone introduces a new plumbing gadget or extrapolates from animal research on resveratrol or catechins that we should drink more red wine or eat more chocolate. As a scientist who's spent her career asking, "Can we get better?" I've come to view bio-hacking as misguided, profit-driven, and counterproductive to its followers' goals.

We're creatures of nature. Despite all the new gadgets and bio-hacks, we still use Roman plumbing technology, and the best way to stay fit, sharp, and happy is to follow a recipe passed down since the beginning of time. Bacteria, plants, and all natural beings are rhythmic, with alternating periods of high activity and dormancy, whether measured in seconds, hours, days, or seasons. Nature repeats successful patterns.

During the Upstate, every cell in your body is naturally primed and pumped full of glycogen and ATP (your cells' energy currencies), as well as cortisol, which supports your muscles, heart, metabolism, cognitive prowess, emotional regulation, and general "get 'er done" attitude. This big energy release depletes your batteries and requires the Downstate, when your subsystems recharge at the cellular level.

Downstates are when you give your heart a break from pumping nutrient-rich blood through your body; when you give your metabolism a break from inflammation, oxidative stress, and sympathetic arousal caused by eating fast food — or just eating too fast; or when you give your mind a chance to wander, think bigger thoughts, and come up with new creative solutions. When you're responding to notifications, emails, and fires, you can't relax.

Every biological plant and animal is regulated by rhythms of energy-depleting Upstate and energy-restoring Downstates.

Downstates aren't just for consistently recharging your battery. By spending time in the Downstate, your body and brain get extra energy and nutrients, allowing you to grow smarter, faster, stronger, and more self-regulated. This state supports half-marathon training, exam prep, and mediation. As we age, spending more time in the Downstate is key to mental and physical health, well-being, and longevity.

When you prioritize energy-demanding activities during Upstate periods and energy-replenishing activities during Downstate periods, all your subsystems, including cardiovascular, metabolic, muscular, cognitive, and emotional, hum along at their optimal settings. When you synchronize the Upstates and Downstates of these individual rhythms, their functioning improves. A hard workout causes autonomic stress, which triggers Downstate recovery.

This zig-zag trajectory of performance improvement illustrates that getting better at anything in life isn’t a straight shot. The close-up box shows how prioritizing Downstate recovery after an Upstate exertion (e.g., hard workout) leads to RECOVERYPLUS. Image from The Power of the Downstate by Sara C. Mednick PhD.

By choosing the right timing and type of exercise during the day, you can ensure a deeper recovery and greater readiness for the next workout by working with your natural rhythms and strengthening your autonomic and sleep Downstates.

Morning cardio workouts increase deep sleep compared to afternoon workouts. Timing and type of meals determine when your sleep hormone melatonin is released, ushering in sleep.

Rhythm isn't a hack. It's not a way to cheat the system or the boss. Nature has honed its optimization wisdom over trillions of days and nights. Stop looking for quick fixes. You're a whole system made of smaller subsystems that must work together to function well. No one pill or subsystem will make it all work. Understanding and coordinating your rhythms is free, easy, and only benefits you.

Dr. Sara C. Mednick is a cognitive neuroscientist at UC Irvine and author of The Power of the Downstate (HachetteGO)

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Trevor Stark

Trevor Stark

1 year ago

Economics is complete nonsense.

Mainstream economics haven't noticed.

Photo by Hans Eiskonen on Unsplash

What come to mind when I say the word "economics"?

Probably GDP, unemployment, and inflation.

If you've ever watched the news or listened to an economist, they'll use data like these to defend a political goal.

The issue is that these statistics are total bunk.

I'm being provocative, but I mean it:

  • The economy is not measured by GDP.

  • How many people are unemployed is not counted in the unemployment rate.

  • Inflation is not measured by the CPI.

All orthodox economists' major economic statistics are either wrong or falsified.

Government institutions create all these stats. The administration wants to reassure citizens the economy is doing well.

GDP does not reflect economic expansion.

GDP measures a country's economic size and growth. It’s calculated by the BEA, a government agency.

The US has the world's largest (self-reported) GDP, growing 2-3% annually.

If GDP rises, the economy is healthy, say economists.

Why is the GDP flawed?

GDP measures a country's yearly spending.

The government may adjust this to make the economy look good.

GDP = C + G + I + NX

C = Consumer Spending

G = Government Spending

I = Investments (Equipment, inventories, housing, etc.)

NX = Exports minus Imports

GDP is a country's annual spending.

The government can print money to boost GDP. The government has a motive to increase and manage GDP.

Because government expenditure is part of GDP, printing money and spending it on anything will raise GDP.

They've done this. Since 1950, US government spending has grown 8% annually, faster than GDP.

In 2022, government spending accounted for 44% of GDP. It's the highest since WWII. In 1790-1910, it was 3% of GDP.

Who cares?

The economy isn't only spending. Focus on citizens' purchasing power or quality of life.

Since GDP just measures spending, the government can print money to boost GDP.

Even if Americans are poorer than last year, economists can say GDP is up and everything is fine.

How many people are unemployed is not counted in the unemployment rate.

The unemployment rate measures a country's labor market. If unemployment is high, people aren't doing well economically.

The BLS estimates the (self-reported) unemployment rate as 3-4%.

Why is the unemployment rate so high?

The US government surveys 100k persons to measure unemployment. They extrapolate this data for the country.

They come into 3 categories:

  • Employed

People with jobs are employed … duh.

  • Unemployed

People who are “jobless, looking for a job, and available for work” are unemployed

  • Not in the labor force

The “labor force” is the employed + the unemployed.

The unemployment rate is the percentage of unemployed workers.

Problem is unemployed definition. You must actively seek work to be considered unemployed.

You're no longer unemployed if you haven't interviewed in 4 weeks.

This shit makes no goddamn sense.

Why does this matter?

You can't interview if there are no positions available. You're no longer unemployed after 4 weeks.

In 1994, the BLS redefined "unemployed" to exclude discouraged workers.

If you haven't interviewed in 4 weeks, you're no longer counted in the unemployment rate.

Unemployment Data Including “Long-term Discouraged Workers” (Source)

If unemployment were measured by total unemployed, it would be 25%.

Because the government wants to keep the unemployment rate low, they modify the definition.

If every US resident was unemployed and had no job interviews, economists would declare 0% unemployment. Excellent!

Inflation is not measured by the CPI.

The BLS measures CPI. This month was the highest since 1981.

CPI measures the cost of a basket of products across time. Food, energy, shelter, and clothes are included.

A 9.1% CPI means the basket of items is 9.1% more expensive.

What is the CPI problem?

Here's a more detailed explanation of CPI's flaws.

In summary, CPI is manipulated to be understated.

Housing costs are understated to manipulate CPI. Housing accounts for 33% of the CPI because it's the biggest expense for most people.

This signifies it's the biggest CPI weight.

Rather than using actual house prices, the Bureau of Labor Statistics essentially makes shit up. You can read more about the process here.

Surprise! It’s bullshit

The BLS stated Shelter's price rose 5.5% this month.

House prices are up 11-21%. (Source 1Source 2Source 3)

Rents are up 14-26%. (Source 1Source 2)

Why is this important?

If CPI included housing prices, it would be 12-15 percent this month, not 9.1 percent.

9% inflation is nuts. Your money's value halves every 7 years at 9% inflation.

Worse is 15% inflation. Your money halves every 4 years at 15% inflation.

If everyone realized they needed to double their wage every 4-5 years to stay wealthy, there would be riots.

Inflation drains our money's value so the government can keep printing it.

The Solution

Most individuals know the existing system doesn't work, but can't explain why.

People work hard yet lag behind. The government lies about the economy's data.

In reality:

  • GDP has been down since 2008

  • 25% of Americans are unemployed

  • Inflation is actually 15%

People might join together to vote out kleptocratic politicians if they knew the reality.

Having reliable economic data is the first step.

People can't understand the situation without sufficient information. Instead of immigrants or billionaires, people would blame liar politicians.

Here’s the vision:

A decentralized, transparent, and global dashboard that tracks economic data like GDP, unemployment, and inflation for every country on Earth.

Government incentives influence economic statistics.

ShadowStats has already started this effort, but the calculations must be transparent, decentralized, and global to be effective.

If interested, email me at trevorstark02@gmail.com.

Here are some links to further your research:

  1. MIT Billion Prices Project

  2. 1729 Decentralized Inflation Dashboard Project

  3. Balaji Srinivasan on “Fiat Information VS. Crypto Information”

Alexander Nguyen

Alexander Nguyen

1 year ago

How can you bargain for $300,000 at Google?

Don’t give a number

Photo by Vitaly Taranov on Unsplash

Google pays its software engineers generously. While many of their employees are competent, they disregard a critical skill to maximize their pay.

Negotiation.

If Google employees have never negotiated, they're as helpless as anyone else.

In this piece, I'll reveal a compensation negotiation tip that will set you apart.

The Fallacy of Negotiating

How do you negotiate your salary? “Just give them a number twice the amount you really want”. - Someplace on the internet

Above is typical negotiation advice. If you ask for more than you want, the recruiter may meet you halfway.

It seems logical and great, but here's why you shouldn't follow that advice.

Haitian hostage rescue

In 1977, an official's aunt was kidnapped in Haiti. The kidnappers demanded $150,000 for the aunt's life. It seems reasonable until you realize why kidnappers want $150,000.

FBI detective and negotiator Chris Voss researched why they demanded so much.

“So they could party through the weekend”

When he realized their ransom was for partying, he offered $4,751 and a CD stereo. Criminals freed the aunt.

These thieves gave 31.57x their estimated amount and got a fraction. You shouldn't trust these thieves to negotiate your compensation.

What happened?

Negotiating your offer and Haiti

This narrative teaches you how to negotiate with a large number.

You can and will be talked down.

If a recruiter asks your wage expectation and you offer double, be ready to explain why.

If you can't justify your request, you may be offered less. The recruiter will notice and talk you down.

Reasonably,

  • a tiny bit more than the present amount you earn

  • a small premium over an alternative offer

  • a little less than the role's allotted amount

Real-World Illustration

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

Recruiter: What’s your expected salary? Candidate: (I know the role is usually $100,000) $200,000 Recruiter: How much are you compensated in your current role? Candidate: $90,000 Recruiter: We’d be excited to offer you $95,000 for your experiences for the role.

So Why Do They Even Ask?

Recruiters ask for a number to negotiate a lower one. Asking yourself limits you.

You'll rarely get more than you asked for, and your request can be lowered.

The takeaway from all of this is to never give an expected compensation.

Tell them you haven't thought about it when you applied.

Scott Duke Kominers

1 year ago

NFT Creators Go Creative Commons Zero (cc0)


On January 1, "Public Domain Day," thousands of creative works immediately join the public domain. The original creator or copyright holder loses exclusive rights to reproduce, adapt, or publish the work, and anybody can use it. It happens with movies, poems, music, artworks, books (where creative rights endure 70 years beyond the author's death), and sometimes source code.

Public domain creative works open the door to new uses. 400,000 sound recordings from before 1923, including Winnie-the-Pooh, were released this year.  With most of A.A. Milne's 1926 Winnie-the-Pooh characters now available, we're seeing innovative interpretations Milne likely never planned. The ancient hyphenated version of the honey-loving bear is being adapted for a horror movie: "Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey"... with Pooh and Piglet as the baddies.

Counterintuitively, experimenting and recombination can occasionally increase IP value. Open source movements allow the public to build on (or fork and duplicate) existing technologies. Permissionless innovation helps Android, Linux, and other open source software projects compete. Crypto's success at attracting public development is also due to its support of open source and "remix culture," notably in NFT forums.

Production memes

NFT projects use several IP strategies to establish brands, communities, and content. Some preserve regular IP protections; others offer NFT owners the opportunity to innovate on connected IP; yet others have removed copyright and other IP safeguards.

By using the "Creative Commons Zero" (cc0) license, artists can intentionally select for "no rights reserved." This option permits anyone to benefit from derivative works without legal repercussions. There's still a lot of confusion between copyrights and NFTs, so nothing here should be considered legal, financial, tax, or investment advice. Check out this post for an overview of copyright vulnerabilities with NFTs and how authors can protect owners' rights. This article focuses on cc0.

Nouns, a 2021 project, popularized cc0 for NFTs. Others followed, including: A Common Place, Anonymice, Blitmap, Chain Runners, Cryptoadz, CryptoTeddies, Goblintown, Gradis, Loot, mfers, Mirakai, Shields, and Terrarium Club are cc0 projects.

Popular crypto artist XCOPY licensed their 1-of-1 NFT artwork "Right-click and Save As Guy" under cc0 in January, exactly one month after selling it. cc0 has spawned many derivatives.

"Right-click Save As Guy" by XCOPY (1)/derivative works (2)

"Right-click Save As Guy" by XCOPY (1)/derivative works (2)

XCOPY said Monday he would apply cc0 to "all his existing art." "We haven't seen a cc0 summer yet, but I think it's approaching," said the artist. - predicting a "DeFi summer" in 2020, when decentralized finance gained popularity.

Why do so many NFT authors choose "no rights"?

Promoting expansions of the original project to create a more lively and active community is one rationale. This makes sense in crypto, where many value open sharing and establishing community.

Creativity depends on cultural significance. NFTs may allow verifiable ownership of any digital asset, regardless of license, but cc0 jumpstarts "meme-ability" by actively, not passively, inviting derivative works. As new derivatives are made and shared, attention might flow back to the original, boosting its reputation. This may inspire new interpretations, leading in a flywheel effect where each derivative adds to the original's worth - similar to platform network effects, where platforms become more valuable as more users join them.

cc0 licence allows creators "seize production memes."

"SEASON 1 MEME CARD 2"

Physical items are also using cc0 NFT assets, thus it's not just a digital phenomenon. The Nouns Vision initiative turned the square-framed spectacles shown on each new NounsDAO NFT ("one per day, forever") into luxury sunglasses. Blitmap's pixel-art has been used on shoes, apparel, and caps. In traditional IP regimes, a single owner controls creation, licensing, and production.

The physical "blitcap" (3rd level) is a descendant of the trait in the cc0 Chain Runners collection (2nd), which uses the "logo" from cc0 Blitmap (1st)! The Logo is Blitmap token #84 and has been used as a trait in various collections. The "Dom Rose" is another popular token. These homages reference Blitmap's influence as a cc0 leader, as one of the earliest NFT projects to proclaim public domain intents. A new collection, Citizens of Tajigen, emerged last week with a Blitcap characteristic.

These derivatives can be a win-win for everyone, not just the original inventors, especially when using NFT assets to establish unique brands. As people learn about the derivative, they may become interested in the original. If you see someone wearing Nouns glasses on the street (or in a Super Bowl ad), you may desire a pair, but you may also be interested in buying an original NounsDAO NFT or related derivative.

Blitmap Logo Hat (1), Chain Runners #780 ft. Hat (2), and Blitmap Original "Logo #87" (3)

Blitmap Logo Hat (1), Chain Runners #780 ft. Hat (2), and Blitmap Original "Logo #87" (3)

Co-creating open source

NFTs' power comes from smart contract technology's intrinsic composability. Many smart contracts can be integrated or stacked to generate richer applications.

"Money Legos" describes how decentralized finance ("DeFi") smart contracts interconnect to generate new financial use cases. Yearn communicates with MakerDAO's stablecoin $DAI and exchange liquidity provider Curve by calling public smart contract methods. NFTs and their underlying smart contracts can operate as the base-layer framework for recombining and interconnecting culture and creativity.

cc0 gives an NFT's enthusiast community authority to develop new value layers whenever, wherever, and however they wish.

Multiple cc0 projects are playable characters in HyperLoot, a Loot Project knockoff.

Open source and Linux's rise are parallels. When the internet was young, Microsoft dominated the OS market with Windows. Linux (and its developer Linus Torvalds) championed a community-first mentality, freely available the source code without restrictions. This led to developers worldwide producing new software for Linux, from web servers to databases. As people (and organizations) created world-class open source software, Linux's value proposition grew, leading to explosive development and industry innovation. According to Truelist, Linux powers 96.3% of the top 1 million web servers and 85% of smartphones.

With cc0 licensing empowering NFT community builders, one might hope for long-term innovation. Combining cc0 with NFTs "turns an antagonistic game into a co-operative one," says NounsDAO cofounder punk4156. It's important on several levels. First, decentralized systems from open source to crypto are about trust and coordination, therefore facilitating cooperation is crucial. Second, the dynamics of this cooperation work well in the context of NFTs because giving people ownership over their digital assets allows them to internalize the results of co-creation through the value that accrues to their assets and contributions, which incentivizes them to participate in co-creation in the first place.

Licensed to create

If cc0 projects are open source "applications" or "platforms," then NFT artwork, metadata, and smart contracts provide the "user interface" and the underlying blockchain (e.g., Ethereum) is the "operating system." For these apps to attain Linux-like potential, more infrastructure services must be established and made available so people may take advantage of cc0's remixing capabilities.

These services are developing. Zora protocol and OpenSea's open source Seaport protocol enable open, permissionless NFT marketplaces. A pixel-art-rendering engine was just published on-chain to the Ethereum blockchain and integrated into OKPC and ICE64. Each application improves blockchain's "out-of-the-box" capabilities, leading to new apps created from the improved building blocks.

Web3 developer growth is at an all-time high, yet it's still a small fraction of active software developers globally. As additional developers enter the field, prospective NFT projects may find more creative and infrastructure Legos for cc0 and beyond.

Electric Capital Developer Report (2021), p. 122

Electric Capital Developer Report (2021), p. 122

Growth requires composability. Users can easily integrate digital assets developed on public standards and compatible infrastructure into other platforms. The Loot Project is one of the first to illustrate decentralized co-creation, worldbuilding, and more in NFTs. This example was low-fi or "incomplete" aesthetically, providing room for imagination and community co-creation.

Loot began with a series of Loot bag NFTs, each listing eight "adventure things" in white writing on a black backdrop (such as Loot Bag #5726's "Katana, Divine Robe, Great Helm, Wool Sash, Divine Slippers, Chain Gloves, Amulet, Gold Ring"). Dom Hofmann's free Loot bags served as a foundation for the community.

Several projects have begun metaphorical (lore) and practical (game development) world-building in a short time, with artists contributing many variations to the collective "Lootverse." They've produced games (Realms & The Crypt), characters (Genesis Project, Hyperloot, Loot Explorers), storytelling initiatives (Banners, OpenQuill), and even infrastructure (The Rift).

Why cc0 and composability? Because consumers own and control Loot bags, they may use them wherever they choose by connecting their crypto wallets. This allows users to participate in multiple derivative projects, such as  Genesis Adventurers, whose characters appear in many others — creating a decentralized franchise not owned by any one corporation.

Genesis Project's Genesis Adventurer (1) with HyperLoot (2) and Loot Explorer (3) versions

Genesis Project's Genesis Adventurer (1) with HyperLoot (2) and Loot Explorer (3) versions

When to go cc0

There are several IP development strategies NFT projects can use. When it comes to cc0, it’s important to be realistic. The public domain won't make a project a runaway success just by implementing the license. cc0 works well for NFT initiatives that can develop a rich, enlarged ecosystem.

Many of the most successful cc0 projects have introduced flexible intellectual property. The Nouns brand is as obvious for a beer ad as for real glasses; Loot bags are simple primitives that make sense in all adventure settings; and the Goblintown visual style looks good on dwarfs, zombies, and cranky owls as it does on Val Kilmer.

The ideal cc0 NFT project gives builders the opportunity to add value:

  • vertically, by stacking new content and features directly on top of the original cc0 assets (for instance, as with games built on the Loot ecosystem, among others), and

  • horizontally, by introducing distinct but related intellectual property that helps propagate the original cc0 project’s brand (as with various Goblintown derivatives, among others).

These actions can assist cc0 NFT business models. Because cc0 NFT projects receive royalties from secondary sales, third-party extensions and derivatives can boost demand for the original assets.

Using cc0 license lowers friction that could hinder brand-reinforcing extensions or lead to them bypassing the original. Robbie Broome recently argued (in the context of his cc0 project A Common Place) that giving away his IP to cc0 avoids bad rehashes down the line. If UrbanOutfitters wanted to put my design on a tee, they could use the actual work instead of hiring a designer. CC0 can turn competition into cooperation.

Community agreement about core assets' value and contribution can help cc0 projects. Cohesion and engagement are key. Using the above examples: Developers can design adventure games around whatever themes and item concepts they desire, but many choose Loot bags because of the Lootverse's community togetherness. Flipmap shared half of its money with the original Blitmap artists in acknowledgment of that project's core role in the community. This can build a healthy culture within a cc0 project ecosystem. Commentator NiftyPins said it was smart to acknowledge the people that constructed their universe. Many OG Blitmap artists have popped into the Flipmap discord to share information.

cc0 isn't a one-size-fits-all answer; NFTs formed around well-established brands may prefer more restrictive licenses to preserve their intellectual property and reinforce exclusivity. cc0 has some superficial similarities to permitting NFT owners to market the IP connected with their NFTs (à la Bored Ape Yacht Club), but there is a significant difference: cc0 holders can't exclude others from utilizing the same IP. This can make it tougher for holders to develop commercial brands on cc0 assets or offer specific rights to partners. Holders can still introduce enlarged intellectual property (such as backstories or derivatives) that they control.


Blockchain technologies and the crypto ethos are decentralized and open-source. This makes it logical for crypto initiatives to build around cc0 content models, which build on the work of the Creative Commons foundation and numerous open source pioneers.

NFT creators that choose cc0 must select how involved they want to be in building the ecosystem. Some cc0 project leaders, like Chain Runners' developers, have kept building on top of the initial cc0 assets, creating an environment derivative projects can plug into. Dom Hofmann stood back from Loot, letting the community lead. (Dom is also working on additional cc0 NFT projects for the company he formed to build Blitmap.) Other authors have chosen out totally, like sartoshi, who announced his exit from the cc0 project he founded, mfers, and from the NFT area by publishing a final edition suitably named "end of sartoshi" and then deactivating his Twitter account. A multi-signature wallet of seven mfers controls the project's smart contract. 

cc0 licensing allows a robust community to co-create in ways that benefit all members, regardless of original creators' continuous commitment. We foresee more organized infrastructure and design patterns as NFT matures. Like open source software, value capture frameworks may see innovation. (We could imagine a variant of the "Sleepycat license," which requires commercial software to pay licensing fees when embedding open source components.) As creators progress the space, we expect them to build unique rights and licensing strategies. cc0 allows NFT producers to bootstrap ideas that may take off.