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October 20, 2021 Archives

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

THE HAPPENING WORLD: Announcing: Fourmilab Blockchain Tools

Fourmilab Blockchain Tools provide a variety of utilities for users, experimenters, and researchers working with blockchain-based cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. These are divided into two main categories.

Bitcoin and Ethereum Address Tools

These programs assist in generating, analysing, archiving, protecting, and monitoring addresses on the Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains. They do not require you run a local node or maintain a copy of the blockchain, and all security-related functions may be performed on an “air-gapped” machine with no connection to the Internet or any other computer.

Bitcoin Blockchain Analysis Tools

This collection of tools allows various kinds of monitoring and analysis of the Bitcoin blockchain. They do not support Ethereum. These programs are intended for advanced, technically-oriented users who run their own full Bitcoin Core node on a local computer. Note that anybody can run a Bitcoin node as long as they have a computer with the modest CPU and memory capacity required, plus the very large (and inexorably growing) file storage capacity to archive the entire Bitcoin blockchain. You can run a Bitcoin node without being a “miner”, nor need you expose your computer to external accesses from other nodes unless you so wish.

These tools are all read-only monitoring and analysis utilities. They do not generate transactions of any kind, nor do they require unlocked access to the node owner's wallet.


You can download the complete source code distribution, including ready-to-run versions of all of the programs, from the Fourmilab Blockchain Tools home page.

All of this software is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.

Please see the Fourmilab Blockchain Tools User Guide [PDF] for details or read the complete source code [PDF] in Perl and Python written using the Literate Programming methodology with the nuweb system.

Posted at 15:20 Permalink

CONTEXT: Boeing's Starliner Is a Mess—But What Were the Alternatives?

Posted at 14:19 Permalink

CONTINUITY: The WiFi Hidden Node Problem

Here is an explanation of the hidden node problem and how the IEEE 802.11 RTS/CTS mechanism avoids most collisions on carrier-sense multiple access with collision avoidance (CSMA/CA) wireless networks.

Posted at 13:55 Permalink

TRACKING WITH CLOSEUPS: James Webb Space Telescope Deployment—“29 Days on the Edge”

Here are some statistics to ponder:

All of this has to work, or the James Webb Space Telescope, which has been under development for 25 years and cost US$10 billion, will be space junk. Positioned in an Earth-Sun L2 halo orbit, no repair mission will be possible.

Posted at 13:25 Permalink

CONTINUITY: NASA's Ambitious Original Plans for Apollo

With the exception of Skylab, all of these plans came to naught as the NASA budget was cut to fund the Vietnam war and “Great Society” welfare programs. Yes, the manned Venus fly-by concept was really a thing: here is the 1967 study of such a mission by NASA contractor Bellcomm. Gerald Brennan's Island of Clouds is a fictional account of that mission.

Posted at 12:16 Permalink