NFTs are silly – also, they are the same old stuff

Someone posted a link to this story on Facebook

How a $300K Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT accidentally sold for $3K

The Bored Ape Yacht Club is a collection of 10,000 NFTs, each depicting an ape with different traits and visual attributes. It may sound arcane, but it’s one of the most prestigious NFT collections in the world. Jimmy Fallon, Steph Curry and Post Malone are among its star-studded members. Right now the price of entry — that is, the cheapest you can buy a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT for — is 52 ether, or $210,000.

NFTs is a ridiculous scam, where you pay a fortune to own a computer graphic, which other people can freely copy and have themselves. Many NFTs are connected to existing art work, digital or digitalized, and are often created by people who have no rights to the original artwork, earning money on other peoples’ intellectual property. This is not the case with the Bored Ape Yacht Club images, who were created specifically for usages in NFTs. It is not clear to me, whether the right to the intellectual property is transferred at the same time. It appears from other articles that this might be the case, but often this is not the case, and the NFT is just a proof that you own “the original” digital version of the digital artwork – something which is nonsense, because that is not how digital images works on computers and on networks.

Which is why it’s so painful to see that someone accidentally sold their Bored Ape NFT on Saturday for $3,066.

No, it is not painful. It shows how ridiculous this is.

What really happened was that someone got $3K for something, instead of the $300K that they wanted, because they made a mistake. This is something which is reversable in most transactions, but not with NFTs.

The rest of the article goes into several examples of stupid mistakes in cryptocurrency, which depends on the same technology as NFTs (blockchains), clearly showing a major issue with decentralized assets, where it is not possible to reverse mistakes.

One interesting thing about the Bored Ape Yacht Club, unlike a lot of NFTs, is that because you actually get the rights of the digital artwork, you are actually buying a real product. Not “the original” artwork, but rather the rights surrounding the artwork. This makes them less silly than NFTs of art where the rights to the image doesn’t transfer as well. It also means that it is nothing new – the trade of intellectual rights to an artwork has been around for a long time. So, if someone tries to use this as an good example of NFTs, remember to point out that people don’t just by the NFT when buying an image in this collection, so it can’t be used as an general example.

NASA Webb Telescope is on its way

I am always awestruck about the feats of engineering and science that goes into space exploration, and I love when there is yet another milestone to celebrate.

 


You can follow the news on the Webb Telescope Twitter feed or the blog dedicated to the Webb Telescope over at NASA.

Actions have consequences – Danish politics edition

I have been out traveling for the last couple of months, so I didn’t cover this, while it was happening, but a major event happened in Danish politics.

Former Danish minister of immigration, Inger Støjberg, was impeached for illegal orders and found guilty, and now faces 60 days in jail (or more likely, in house arrest with an ankle bracelet).

Former Immigration Minister in Denmark Sentenced to Prison for Separating Couples (NY Times)

Inger Stojberg was sentenced to two months’ incarceration after being found by a court to have illegally ordered the separations of married migrant couples in which at least one person was underage.

Inger Støjberg has tried to make this case into being about protecting child brides, but this is not what the case is about at all. Rather, it was about a minister knowingly giving instructions that breaks both Danish laws and international conventions. The facts are simple, during a period in 2016, Støjberg gave instructions that Syrian refuge couples should be separated automatically if at least one of the people was under 18 years old. While it is legal for the Danish authorities to separate couples if they feel that there are good reasons for this, they are not allowed to do so without an individual evaluation of the circumstances.

Back when this happened, it was legal for Danes to get married when under 18, if they got a dispensation. This option has since been removed (in part to help give Støjberg cover when she claimed that this was to protect the young women).

As a consequence of the judgement, the Danish parliament has to evaluate whether Støjberg is worthy to be a member of the Danish Parliament (Folketinget). The debate about this is happening as I am writing this post, but it is clear that there is a majority for expelling her from the parliament. This is not permanent, as she can be re-elected after she has served her time.

The Met Police has a serious problem

Content warning: rape, murder, sexual assaults, police brutality

A couple of days ago, an police officer from London’s Metropolitan Police was convicted for rape and murder, and sentenced to a whole-life prison term, which means that there is no chance of a parole.

It is always shocking when a police officer breaches the trust in such a way, but now the Mirror shows that he was far from the only one.

Fury as 26 Met police colleagues of Wayne Couzens committed sex crimes since 2016

A damning probe into the Met Police today reveals 26 colleagues of murderer Wayne Couzens have committed sex crimes since 2016.

Offences included rape and possessing indecent images of children. Two officers were jailed in April, a month after Couzens raped and killed Sarah Everard.

The alarming figures uncovered by the Sunday Mirror come as pressure mounts on Met Commissioner Cressida Dick to stand down – and for the force to be given a radical overhaul to end a sexist culture.

Labour’s Harriet Harman said: “Women’s confidence in the police has been shattered.”

A staggering 27 Met Police officers were convicted of sex crimes in the past five years, a Sunday Mirror probe has found.

As happens in all institutions where sexism has been allowed to stay unchallenged, it has grown into much worse things. The leadership of London’s Metropolitan Police has accepted a culture, where the police officers have felt safe being sexist or worse

Former Det Supt Paige Kimberley tells how – days after Sarah was murdered – she warned Dame Cressida about a WhatsApp group where male officers were sharing pornographic images and offensive remarks

A panel found their behaviour to be “distasteful” but did NOT amount to misconduct. It is now known the group is similar to the one Couzens and colleagues used in the run-up to 33-year-old Sarah’s death.

The leadership has failed, and there needs to be a reckoning – and there needs to be a purge of the officers in the force, removing everyone who has either participated in these things, or turned a blind eye to it.

Some Sunday music

I have recently discovered the Ukrainian band Jinjer, and I absolutely love them – the members of the band are all astonishing musicians

Words have consequences: Hospital drops anti-vaxxer as spokesperson

I don’t follow US sports, and especially not the commercial vehicle claiming to be a sport, that NFL is, so I don’t really know how big a name Kirk Cousins is, but being a quarterback on a NFL team does give you a certain reach, no matter how good you are. This is why it is rather bad that Kirk Cousins has been saying stuff that is clearly anti-vaccination. It turns out that one of his sponsors, the Holland Hospital in Michigan feels the same way.

Michigan hospital ends relationship with Kirk Cousins after anti-vaccination remarks

“While we acknowledge that each person is entitled to their own viewpoints, those who speak on our behalf must support messages that align with the hospital’s position on matters of vital importance to individual and community health,” the hospital’s statement on the matter read. “For this reason, Holland Hospital will discontinue using Kirk Cousins as our spokesperson for now. We are proud of our association with Kirk. He embodies many values we respect and share as part of our work culture. However, we must be certain that our communications about COVID vaccination are consistent and unequivocal.

“Evidence also indicates that vaccinated individuals may be less likely to carry and transmit the virus to others including children, family members and friends,” the statement said. “For these reasons, Holland Hospital has and will continue to strongly recommend the COVID vaccine to those who are eligible to receive it.”

It is a pity that they feel the need to sugarcoat the breakup, instead of just saying that having using Kirk Cousins as a spokesperson was a mistake, given his anti-science and anti-evidence stance on health care and disease prevention.

Kirk Cousins is not the only sportsperson who has made dangerous remarks about COVID-19 and vaccinations, and I hope more companies will take the lead from Holland Hospital, and distance themselves from people promoting dangerous views.

Hidden gems

A genre of books I’ve always loved are the ones where there are a hidden version of the city, which is invisible for most people. Think books like Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere or Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series.

One of the reasons I probably like this genre so much, is that I have always loved to explore the more hidden parts of the city.

Case in point, I was walking around yesterday, and came across a passage that took me into a sort of court yard, where I found this magnificent thing. It is not the first time I have seen this (last time sans disco ball), but it was years ago, and I couldn’t remember where I had seen it?

Horse had

Danish slavery

A bunch of bloggers on FreethoughtBlogs have decided to write blogs somewhat related to slavery or social justice on Juneteenth. This is my entry.

Growing up in Denmark, slavery as a subject was never really addressed much, and if it was, it was treated as something that either happened a long time ago, or happened outside Denmark, or was spun in such a way to show how progressive Denmark was – e.g. Denmark was the first country in Europe to ban the slave trade (more on that later).

The truth is, of course, that Denmark has a long history of slavery. During the Viking age, slavery was widespread, and historical records show that Vikings did heavy slave trading at especially the markets at Hedeby and Bolghar, near the Volga River. While Christianity reduced slavery, the Code of Jutland, from 1241 still contained rules about slaves. In order to downplay the slavery part of the Viking ages, we were taught to call them ‘thralls’ rather than slaves, and made to believe that they were more like indentured labour, which they of course weren’t (this is similar to when Southern racists try to pretend that slaves that served in mansions were treated as “part of the family”).

After the Viking ages, there was a long time where Denmark had nothing directly to do with slavery. That is, until the 17th century, where Denmark became a (minor) colonial power.

This adventure started in November 19 1620, when Tranquebar (now Tharangambadi) became a Danish trading post and fort. After this, from 1659 forward, Denmark created several trading posts and forts in what was called the Gold Coast in Africa (now part of Ghana), and between 1672 and 1733 Denmark, took over, what was know as Danish West Indies, – Saint Thomas, St. John and Saint Croix.

Together these colonies formed the backbone of the Danish involvement in slavery.

Tranquebar was a modest trading post, which doesn’t seem to have been used during slave trade, but the forts on the Gold Coast, on the other hand, were major ports and trading posts for slaves, going to the West Indies. It is estimated that 100,000 slaves passed through these forts, and on to the Caribbean. Before anyone tries to downplay the Danish involvement in the actual slave transportation, it is estimated that 80,000 of those people were transported on Danish merchant ships.

When it became clear that England was heading towards a ban of slave trading (it came in 1807), Denmark decided to give the Danish plantation owners time to prepare, and in March 1792 it was decided to ban slave trading in Danish territories – but not until 1803, and in the mean time, the slavery trade was intensified in order to bring over enough slaves, in order to create a large enough population to keep up with the needs of the plantations. Also, worth noting, the slavery trade ban only banned selling new people into slavery, it didn’t ban plantation owners from selling their current slaves, and their descendants.

In 1847, the Danish king declared that people born after July 28, 1847, were free, while people born before that date, had to serve another 12 years as slaves, before being freed. This obviously wasn’t acceptable for the slaves, and they revolted. As a direct result of the revolts, acting governor general Peter von Scholten 3 July 1848, emancipating all slaves in the Danish West Indian Islands. Something which more or less ended slavery in the Danish territories, though any Danish slaves outside the islands, would still have to serve another 11 years before being free, according to the law.

Lazy linking

I have gotten my first jab of the Pfizer vaccine this morning, and while I don’t really feel any side effects, I am a bit exhausted, which might as well be due to a busy schedule than anything else. Anyway, I am working on some posts about Danish politics, but until I get around to finishing them, I thought I’d do a quick link round-up.

I case you are curious about the kind of work I do on a daily basis, you can get a glimpse into it, through an article I have written on being a Product Owner in a DevOps environment for Scrum Alliance.

I might have recommended this before, but I highly recommend the “Woking up” series of episodes of Elynah’s Polite Conversations podcast, where she discusses Sam Harris and why she left his fandom. The podcast can be found on all places where you can get podcasts. Otherwise, the first full episode can be found on Soundcloud here. Be aware that Elynah first releases a shorter preview episode. Currently there are six full episodes out.

A new fascinating, if somewhat frustrating podcast is The Turning: The Sisters Who Left, about women who joined the Missionaries of Charity under Mother Theresa, and since left the order. It is fascinating, as it shows how cult-like the order was. It is frustrating, because it still buys too much into the myths around Mother Theresa . Though there is an episode entirely dedicated to the criticism from Hitchens etc., it is clear that the former sisters are still somewhat reverent of Mother Theresa, and while they occasionally talk about the problems with the order (e.g. how proper medicine isn’t used), they don’t seem to blame her for it.