Best TruStories of the Week - #11


#122

I would argue that Bill Gate’s statement assumes:

  1. that there are several different measures of progress
  2. there are some measures which have markedly improved
  3. the average person believes the world is worse off than before when asked about those measures of progress

His statement draws on a well known book called “Factfulness” by Hans Rosling - there is
chapter dedicated to the “negativity instinct” which discusses what some of these measures are, discusses which facts people continue to get wrong, and why this could be the case (one of the main arguments is media bias)

Some of the facts that measure progress :

  1. Share of humanity living in extreme poverty (living on <$2/ day, adjusted for inflation) has declined from 85% in 1800 to 9% in 2017- more recent improvements (last 20 years) have been driven by reductions in India in China
  2. Average life expectancy has improved from 31 years in 1800 to 72 years in 2017
  3. Share of undernourished fell from 28% in 1970 to 11% in 1970

I would argue that relative numbers (%) is a more balanced way of capturing, and monitoring changes than absolute measures - absolute measures are difficult to compare across time horizons, and therefore difficult to interpret.

This underlying data is made publicly available on https://www.gapminder.org/data/

My Stake: Back Claim [100 CRED]


#123

Claim 2: Challenge 5 cred

I’m failing to see how the DAG structure itself is helping to make the blockchain more performant. The claim is that it’s the traversal speed which improves performance, but isn’t the perfomance of the blockchain dependent on the scalability of the underlying protocol? At any given time you’re working on a small portion of the tree/graph and the type of traversal you’re referring may not be the one required by the protocol.


#124

Claim : The Federal Reserve Board of Governors have documented the “collapse in the Bitcoin market” as a new ‘Salient Risk in Scenario’ within it’s policy statement on the Scenario Design Framework for Stress Testing.

Category : Regulation

Source :

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/02/28/2019-03504/amendments-to-policy-statement-on-the-scenario-design-framework-for-stress-testing
https://www.ccn.com/federal-reserve-bank-prepared-to-study-collapse-of-the-bitcoin-market

Stake: Back Claim (100 CRED)

Argument/Evidence:

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System issued a final ruling entitled the “Amendments to Policy Statement on the Scenario Design Framework for Stress Testing” last month.

The policy statement provides that economic variables included in the scenarios may change over time, and that the Board may consider factoring in new salient risks. In a section titled the “Scenario Design Framework and Process for Scenario Publication”, a number of new “Salient Risk in Scenarios” were proffered by commentators, including the potential of “a collapse of the Bitcoin market”.

The implications of this are that When the Federal Reserve conducts stress tests to measure risk in the U.S. financial markets, it may study “extraordinary” events like a “collapse in the Bitcoin market.”

Status : Confirmed.


#125

Thanks for pointing that out. I think you are right. Unless it’s a new node that needs to download the whole chain, an operating full node/ light client does not have to traverse the whole tree/ graph.

I think blockchain scalability now is limited by the block size and consensus protocol.

Block size: There’s a trade-off between scalability and decentralization. If you increase the block size (Just like Bitcoin cash increasing to 32MB), operating nodes become more $ to run and could cause less decentralization to network. Another technological hurdle is also the time taken for miners to put transactions into a block.

Consensus protocol: It takes time for all nodes to reach consensus. Is this because of the limitation of the PoW time/ block generation time? Or is this because of the speed limitation of gossip protocol for all decentralized nodes to sync with each other? Or both?

Why DAG could be a more scalable alternative?

According to IOTA stated, the Tangle does not have a built in maximum throughput. So I think at least DAG isn’t limited by the block size. However, I do not understand how it allows all nodes to reach consensus that achieves safety property.

IOTA tangle mentions that "each transaction will need to perform a small proof-of-work computation, and the graph performs a random walk, which is biased towards transactions with more cumulative weight, or more transactions approving them." (heaviest branch kinda like the longest chain)

"Bigger branches getting bigger, and smaller branches shrinking and eventually disappearing, in the sense that no new transactions approve them"

I guess this sort of consensus is not robust therefore under frequent attack because it’s not costly to perform double-spend. In other words, Tangle PoW isn’t economically expensive enough to prevent attack. (This is just a wild guess I don’t have enough relevant knowledge to piece this thought, if anyone knows about this)


#126

My Stake: Challenge with 50 CRED

Ripple (XRP) did not have an ICO. This rule is only applicable to tokens which had sales/ICOs.


#127

Love this claim! Very insightful. Have you heard anything about hydroplaning/aquaplaning crash test ratings? Something I was wondering about. Looks like here that a Tesla Model 3 held its stability but I haven’t seen more reports of this.


#128

Thanks, @HelloRena! From my understanding, hydroplaning depends on a variety of conditions. Pavement texture, road curvature, slope and grade, rain duration and intensity on the road’s side and speed, acceleration, braking, and steering on the driver’s side.

The biggest factor is on the vehicle side is tire quality. The better the tires (good sturdy tread, not worn down), and a high psi (around 45) help reduce the risk of hydroplaning. It seems other vehicle factors can have much effect besides the weight. Heavier cars fare better. The Model 3 Long Range weighs 3800 pounds which is slightly above for sedans of a similar size (Camry, Accord, and Fusion are around 3,300–3,500 lbs depending on specific model configuration).

Since the main factors are tire quality, road conditions and driver behavior the only thing that would make the Model 3 less prone to hydroplane is that it is slightly heavier.

This all applies to the specific case of hydroplaning. Overall traction is a larger category and one in which Tesla is quite advanced. Basically, this is because of the electric motor which can be fine-tuned and responsive to software in ways that a conventional gas engine cannot. This ability is enhanced on some Tesla Models that have both rear and front motors. I’ll save a longer explanation for Telsa traction control for a later time. :slight_smile:




#129

Claim : Crypto is not helping people most in need of help in Venezuela

Source : https://www.longhash.com/news/opinion-no-venezuela-is-not-becoming-a-bitcoin-nation

Category : Use cases

My Stake : Back 50 Cred

My Evidence : The writer is Venezuelan and seems to have quite extensive knowledge about the field. He has written previously how bitcoin has been a lifeline for some Venezuelans. What he emphasizes here, is that it’s not helping the people most in need of help.

There’s a lot of foreign aid projects hoping to help Venezuelans with crypto and people and projects doing a lot of marketing around how cryptocurrencies can save people’s lives there. However, there’s barriers to adoption such as crypto being seen as a scam, connectivity, knowledge and trust, which means it is not the perfect solution that saves people.

Jose’s last sentence in the post summarizes his thoughts: “Don’t try to fit Venezuela’s crisis into your favorite crypto narrative.”


#130

this is so true it hurts. I dislike it when people who have no clue about Venezuela try to sell the situation in Venezuela as a need for crypto. False narrative.


#131

Claim: Vaping Juul is probably healthier for you than drinking apple juice every day.

Source: https://twitter.com/then_there_was/status/1102279738230431745?s=19

Category: Health

My stake: Challenged with 100 Cred

Argument:

Assumption: To determine which is healthier, I’m comparing the effects of sugar in apple juice to the effects of nicotine in juuls on life expectancy. There is no clinical study comparing apple juice consumption and juul usage.

  1. When analyzing the health effects of apple juice, I considered bottled apple juice with large quantities of sugar and didn’t consider apple juice from fruit. Fruit apple juice can be harmful too based on arsenic content and false classification of inorganic apples as organic apples. But I considered it to be out of scope based on the context of the tweet.
  2. I considered healthiness in terms of longevity and reversible effect on the person’s life. I determined if an effect was “Immediate Life-Threatening” by looking up their prognosis on Google. I have shared links to some of the effects which are not obvious.

Evidence:

To understand the health effects of drinking apple juice daily, I looked at the top 10 health effects of too much sugar from Healthline.com.

It states the effects of high sugar intake are:

Effects Immediate Life Threatening
Can Cause Weight Gain No
May Increase Your Risk of Heart Disease Yes
Has Been Linked to Acne No
Increases Your Risk of Diabetes No
May Increase Your Risk of Cancer Yes
May Increase Your Risk of Depression No
May Accelerate the Skin Aging Process No
Can Increase Cellular Aging No
Drains Your Energy No
Can Lead to Fatty Liver (Source) No

To understand the health effects of vaping juuls, I looked at the top 10 health effects of nicotine usage from Healthline.com.

Effects Immediate Life Threatening
Lung cancer Yes
Emphysema (Source) Yes
Chronic bronchitis (Source) Yes
Cancer, especially in the respiratory system Yes
Leukemia Yes
Heart disease Yes
Stroke (Source) Yes
Diabetes No
Eye issues, such as cataracts and macular degeneration No
Infertility. No

The health effects of daily sugar consumption are mostly lifestyle disorders and can be reversed. Also, the link between sugar consumption and diseases like cancer is not conclusive as per Healthline.com.

However, nicotine usage has a definitive negative outcome. Also, nicotine usage, which has been studied extensively, is the leading cause of preventable disease and death as per according to Center of Disease Control and Prevention.

A 2017 study by the University of Pittsburg Schools of the Health Sciences found that young adults who use e-cigarettes are more than four times as likely to begin smoking cigarettes within 18 months as their peers who did not vape. Source.

So smoking Juuls increases the risk of tobacco-related health issues.

Conclusion:

The comparison between the health aspects are based on the effects and longevity and reversible effect on the person’s life. Both high sugar intake and Vaping Juul are bad. But the effects of vaping is more and risk is immediate (Immediate Life Threatening) and irreversible as seen in the list of effects of nicotine usage as compared to list of effect of high sugar intake.


What quotes make you think of TruStory?
#132
  1. I love how clean and organized this is.
  2. I love how you took an ambiguous claim “probably healthier” comparing things that there is no clinical study for and broke it down.
  • you compared the sugar of apple juice to the nicotine in juuls

  • for which is “healthier,” you looked at longevity and whether or not the effects were reversible.


#133

I’ll also challenge this claim with 100 TruStake.

I like the two assumptions you present upfront. They logically setup your evidence and argument.
Are there other ingredients in Juuls beside nicotine? It might help some readers like me, who don’t know anything about Juul or vaping, if you listed the the other ingredients (if any) and addressed the health effects of them as well.


#134

Other contents from Juul are listed below but the effects are not well researched as compared to nicotine.

" Juul pods contain a mix of glycerol and propylene glycol, nicotine, benzoic acid, and flavorants, Gould says. The health effects of inhaling these ingredients aren’t well-known, but one thing is certain: Nicotine is a highly addictive substance — and each hit of the Juul packs quite the nicotine punch."

Source


#138

Claim : IOTA is resistant to quantum computer based attacks

Category : Cryptocurrency

Source : IOTA’s Github

My Stake : Back claim (50 cred)

My Argument/Evidence :

IOTA uses Winternitz signatures unlike most other cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin which instead make use of ECDSA (Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm). ECDSA remains secure today because of the difficulty of solving the Discrete Logarithm Problem (DLP) by regular computers, which we will show below that quantum computers can solve in much faster time.

As evidence that IOTA uses Winternitz signatures, this blog post by IOTA explains how Winternitz signatures work.

In order to explain why Winternitz signatures are resistant to quantum computer attacks requires me to talk a little bit about quantum computers.

Quantum computers

A classical computer performs operations using classical bits where information is encoded as either 0 or 1. In contrast, a quantum computer can perform operations using quantum bits which allow the value of 0 or 1 simultaneously. As a result of the computer’s qubits existing in simultaneous states, a probabilistic approach to solving problems can be used allowing a certain set to be solved much faster than on traditional computers.

How are quantum computers faster than regular computers?

Time complexity theory helps us reason about how quantum computers can be faster than regular computers. The problems or computationally expensive tasks that computers solve can be broken into distinct classes as shown in the diagram below.

Problems that can be solved in P (polynomial time) are easy for current day computers to solve and are never used for cryptographic purposes. Problems that require NP (non-deterministic polynomial time) to solve are much harder, sometimes even impossible for current day computers to solve. The Discrete Logarithm Problem (DLP) is an example of a problem that can only be solved by traditional computers in NP time.

The real threat that quantum computers pose to existing DLP based cryptographic systems is that they use the nature of qubits with Shor’s Algorithm to solve the DLP in P time. This is represented as the BQP (bounded-error quantum polynomial time) category in the above diagram.

Further reading:


#139

I’m going to challenge this claim because the evidence of a blog post (which anyone can post and make false claims in) is not enough to convince me that IOTA is Quantum proof.

I googled “is IOTA quantum proof” and first thing that came up is this blog post:

So until there is solid evidence (e.g. academics who reviewed IOTA’s code and agree it’s quantum proof), I will challenge this claim.


#140

I’m going to challenge this claim because the evidence of a blog post (which anyone can post and make false claims in) is not enough to convince me that IOTA is Quantum proof.

It sounds like the community is struggling with semantics of this claim. In the blog post you linked it takes problem with the term Quantum proof.

However, the IOTA team has changed that to now say Quantum resistant and my goal was to understand what exactly they meant by the claim.

I focused on a difference in design philosophy, where IOTA has made compromises to their user experience in order to implement a one-time signature scheme and ensure that well understood quantum computer based attacks using Shor’s algorithm will not be a threat to the security of their protocol.

I can caveat by saying that in the event:

  • IOTA does not implement Winternitz signatures
  • It is found that another critical part of the IOTA protocol can be attacked by quantum computers
  • New quantum algorithms are found which can crack Winternitz signatures

Then the claim of qauntum resistance will no longer hold.

Given I haven’t seen evidence for any of these cases, I’ll continue to back the claim that IOTA is qauntum resistant.


#141

Isn’t this akin to claiming that Elon Musk landed on Mars because his SpaceX aircraft is being designed to land on Mars?


#142

I would say this really depends on your confidence in the science behind quantum computing. This post outlines the current state of the art in moving towards running implementations of Shor’s algorithm.

Given the possibility of a government possesing quantum computing power, or the chance we’ll reach a breakthrough in the next 5-10 years, then I think it’s a reasonable claim to say “We are on Mars, because Earth isn’t safe anymore”.


#143

Claim: Anthony Pompliano uses bots to grow his followers on Twitter

My stance: Back claim, 100 Cred

Sources:
Pierre Rochard’s tweet

Anthony Sassano’s tweet

Argument:

Assumptions:

There are certain behaviors that differentiate organic follower growth from bot/platform-automated growth.

One of the key behaviors of bots that are used to rapidly increase Twitter following is aggressive following/unfollowing.

The Next Web details this:

The trick is they follow hundreds, thousands, sometimes tens of thousands of Twitter users, in bulk – every day – making use of a range of tacky bots or automation tools found online, or via various scripts that tinker with the Twitter API, to mass-follow/unfollow other accounts.

Once they have followed all these users, they typically wait a few days or weeks, before unfollowing a similar volume (tens of thousands) of Twitter users, to make sure their account appears less bogus or spammy (more followers than accounts being followed).

The purpose here being to gain a follow back from the person they have followed. If they follow 50,000 accounts in one day, and only one percent follow them back, that’s still 500 new followers generated for their account with little, or no effort. Repeat this daily for months or even years, and you can see how they can quickly create an account with millions of followers.

Evidence
I analyzed Pomp’s Twitter activity from the months of December 2017 to April 2018 using Twitter data from SocialBlade.com.

Key to the graphs below:

  • In RED: Daily change in Pomp’s total followers
  • In BLUE: Daily change in the number of users Pomp is following
  • Circled in YELLOW: Instances where Pomp’s following count increased or decreased by the identical or nearly identical amount in consecutive days. We are making the assumption that an automated service or bot would show this identical follow/unfollow behavior.

Summary: From December 2017 to April 2018, there were a total of 13 instances of identical or nearly identical increases in following and drops in following, during consecutive-days.

Other considerations:

Twitter’s “shadowban” of crypto accounts in March 2018 may have also contributed to drops in Pomp’s following numbers. But that occurred in March 2018, and there is evidence of bot behavior outside those months.


#144

Claim: Sleeping naked cools the body and promotes weight loss because the body produces more brown fat.

Category: Popular Beliefs

My Stake: Challenge claim (50 CRED)

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/travisbradberry/2016/09/13/4-reasons-sleeping-naked-makes-you-healthier-and-wealthier/#4eb9c52a69b4
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/240759.php
https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/recent-breakthroughs-by-endocrinologist-andre-carpentier—a-novel-look-at-a-unique-tissue-brown-adipose-tissue-614656514.html
https://www.amerisleep.com/blog/regulate-body-temperature-during-sleep/

Argument / Evidence:

Assumptions:

  • Sleeping without clothes necessarily means the body will be cooler.
  • That sleeping temperatures reached when people sleep naked are low enough to “turn on” brown fat.
  • Long term effects of cooler temperature on brown fat creation, and body weight.

The problem with this claim lies in the fact that they make a leap of logic by suggesting that sleeping naked and weight loss is directly related. The intermediating factor appears to be cold body temperatures, as demonstrated by studies that exposed participants to cold for short durations, resulting in ‘brown fat “turning on” and burning fat as a fuel source directly.

The proposed mechanism seems to be valid:

Mitochondria of brown fat contain a protein that enables them to generate heat by burning fats directly. Indeed, when the body is exposed to cold, brown fat consumes a significant quantity of energy already stored in its cells as lipid droplets. That is what makes this tissue so unique and critical in fighting the cold.”

Dr. André C. Carpentier, from Universite de Sherbrooke, and team set out to determine how humans might be able to switch on the brown fat so that it uses up fat. They found that exposure to cold temperatures seems to be the best trigger.

These studies were conducted by subjecting participants to temperatures of (18°C), which is considered an optimal temperature for sleep, so it’s feasible the human body could maintain 8-hours of exposure to these temperatures that can trigger brown fat to turn on:


The problem with this claim is that there is no evidence that demonstrates that sleeping without clothing necessarily means you will stay cooler. While it’s possible that the wrong choice of material can inhibit temperature regulation by trapping too much heat, this would be true whether that was bedding material or clothing material.

There is also a question, about the long-term effectiveness of cold-exposure on brown fat as a calorie burning mechanism: As, Dr. Carpentier said to CTV news:

Status/Conclusion:

While studies show a temperature which is considered ideal for sleeping adults (60-67 F, 15-19 C) can “turn on” brown fat, which may lead to weight loss, there is no causal relationship between sleeping naked and weight loss. It is also unknown whether or not the effect of cold-exposure on brown fat, and the potential for weight loss, would continue over prolonged periods of time.