Thursday, August 09, 2018

Powdered sugar lightening pattern

I found this cool pattern on the side of a plastic takeout container, the pattern is made from powdered sugar.

It looks reminiscent of Lichtenberg Figures from lightening strike burns, but not exactly. Any ideas how it could have formed ... perhaps something to do with static electricity?

Sunday, August 05, 2018

Star naming on blockchain with Astro Ledger

I'm very excited to release a totally new project letting you name a star on blockchain built with the decentralized application platform Ethereum. It was built with the help of a small team, primarily Aleeza and Tony, but please check out the full Astro Ledger team.

The idea came to me as I was listening to blockchain podcasts driving back from the Falcon Heavy launch - and glanced out the window to see some stars. The podcast happened to be extremely boring ... so I just turned it off and imagined a future where the news coverage of an awesome exoplanet discoveries - includes the name of the star system it was found in, not just the boring ID number.

The FAQ page has lots of info about how to name a star but the key idea is that there is a card for each star, and if you own the card then you get to name the star. The ownership of the cards is handled by a smart contract and it is fully decentralized so that the names are as secure as the Ethereum cryptocurrency is.

The revenue from the star card auctions will go to Astro Ledger grants and the flow of all the cryptocurrency is completely transparent. We expect people to apply for grants in a similar style to the way the Awesome Foundation works, and actually we won an awesome foundation grant to build Astro Ledger:

This is the link to my personal "deck" or collection of star cards and screenshot where you can see some of the names I've chosen for stars. Shannon, is named after one of my heroes Claude Shannon.

This is a screenshot of what the auctions look like:

I really like this project because it incorporates a lot of elements that I really love, specifically: outer space, neat art, and a bit of edgy controversy that makes for an excellent topic of discussion!

I can talk/chat/comment about this all day so please feel free to communicate!