The South Coast Mensa Group met at 6:00 PM, February 16, 2023 at the Original Oyster House Restaurant on the Causeway. Twelve members, family and guests attended.
Dr. Karen Peterson is our Scholarship Chair. She confirmed that essay readers are still in the process of application reviews.
Ellen Carter and LocSec Liles discussed progress on establishing a second CultureQuest team. Dr Howard Rubenstein has offered a conference room in Saraland for our joint teams use. There is still room on our male team for participants. Larry and Captain Rob Reynolds will be reaching out to members.
Editor Gary Kubina wanted to remind us that this is a short month so get Newsletter assignments in early, setting Feb 20th as a target.
Ellen discussed our upcoming weekend events with emphasis to bring no desserts to our Baldwin event, as chocolate will be the subject with tastings provided. Jean Golden introduced our speaker, Professor Jim Swofford with the Economics Department at the University of South Alabama, who led a discussion on cyber currency. He started out with a history of encryption, with examples as far back as the Kama Sutra. We progressed to more modern times and the use of computers to augment encryption. He discussed early programs and proceeded up to Bitcoin. We learned that the originator of Bitcoin is still unknown. We learned that the primary sources of our talk opened all their discussions with a caveat: This is not investment advice. Cyber currencies have no essential value, actual coins do not exist, and values are driven by market forces.
This extended into discussing Non- Fungible Tokens (NFTs.) Ellen was a very early participant with Bitcoin when they were offered to individuals for adding code to the program. In her experience this was a fun experiment with her children, and she did not expect it to last. She gave the coins to her daughter. After learning their value, she called her daughter, and found she had cashed them in for about $50k, to Ellen’s surprise. We briefly touched on the economics of the costs for cybercurrency encryption, which require lots of energy and computer server farms to operate. Dr. Swofford was then presented with our Group Mug in appreciation.
Larry – LocSec