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I've reached the extent that I think I can tell this story. This is my experience with the cult
Introduction I am hesitant to begin writing about these memories, and for two reasons. The first is out of fear - fear of retaliation. You see, I was taken advantage of by a cult that I escaped a few years ago in the summer of 2018. I wasn’t involved for long - ten months - but that wasn’t the end of the cult’s influence on me, as they cleverly had a previously unaffiliated visitor contact me and try to bring me back during the period afterwards. I believe they are still keeping tabs on be covertly, but this may just be my paranoid nature. For nearly the entire first year afterwards, I was always looking over my shoulder to see if I was being followed. They definitely have an interest in roping me back into the fold, as you will see how sociopathic these people are. I’m still traumatized, and although I have healed a great deal from these trials, there is still lingering conditioning that causes me panic attacks and anxiety, which exemplifies my schizoaffective disorder. I attribute much of the reason I’m houseless now to the combination of my mental health and trauma caused by this group. The second reason I am hesitant to begin writing is also out of fear, but this is instead a fear of not being able to deliver on my promise to expose this cult. I know I have the ability to write about my account, but will it be good enough? Will I be throwing these words into the electronic ocean like so many others with little effect on the world? I feel that no matter how hard I try, I will be unable to capture the cult’s devious acts in such a way to convey what it was like for me, a vulnerable individual, to be slowly turned into an obedient slave. Inadequacy. This is an important piece of my psychology. After watching my mother decay and die for the first nine years of my life, followed by being raised by an abusive, narcissistic father, I have a profound feeling of inadequacy ruling me. I never feel like I am good enough; that I have to self-sacrifice - to the point where I believed I had to be as good as Jesus Christ - in order to achieve a passable level of human adequacy. The cult took advantage of these feelings in spades and left me a shell of who I was previously. Fortunately, the period of houselessness that has extended the last year or so of my life has been a radically transformative period where I feel able to step out from barriers that previously trapped me. I feel freer than I ever have been, and to be honest, I owe a lot to the cult for pushing me to my breaking point and learning where my boundaries are. In fact, I don’t believe I could have stepped away from the denial of having a feminine side if it weren’t for the ridiculousness of how far I was pushed. Now, I stand strong, ready to accomplish this mission life has presented me. It is my basic civic duty to tell my story and warn the public about this group and others who prey on vulnerable individuals in an unstable socioeconomic period. They deliberately attract people who are vulnerable for personal or financial reasons. For instance, there was a flat-earther from Belgium who was here illegally that got roped into our group by being attracted to the messages of sovereignty and their abundance of kooky new age beliefs. They even tried to get me to recruit more members using the same strategies they hooked me with - which is standard cult behavior. This leads right into how I got involved with the cult in the first place. Part of it is my fault, as I was young and naive. I still am, but now I have the wisdom to not throw myself out there for any group to start manipulating. There are many people who can be drawn into their preying behavior, and it is important that I elaborate on how easy it is to get duped, so others don’t follow in my footsteps. As you will see, the group was bizarre in many ways. I want to start off by saying that I did not join an organization of pee-drinkers who practiced blood-magick on the side of Main Street. Instead, I started working for a nonprofit that promised to change the world, and appeared to have the ability to do that. The weirdness grew exponentially over time, gradually as they conditioned us to accept their way of life. On my own end, I wanted to join an intentional community; one where everyone involved works towards a singular end as one unit. I longed for the camaraderie and an alternate way of life. I wanted something different than what - as the cult called the common culture - “The Matrix,” or “Babylon” offered. There are such communities, but because of devious groups like this, everyone needs to be cautious when attempting to find them. I still seek to find or create an alternative lifestyle for myself where I can live amongst my brothers and sisters away from the mass-produced consumer culture of the world. It’s been a hell of a journey, but I am happy where I am now. If anything, the group taught me that self-love is our first love; if the gardener does not take care of themselves, then who takes care of the garden? With my efforts to find such a community as I wanted, it was inevitable that some group would have sunk their teeth into me. I am grateful that I was able to recognize the far-flung insanity that I was trapped in and escape. Now I just need to focus on recovering and helping others who may be searching for the same things I am. Chapter 1 It all started early in 2017. I was working on reverse networking, like trying to place a letter on someone’s shoes to let them know I exist. I was hoping to find a project I could use my skills as a writer and juggler by broadcasting who I was on our small online community, The Shrug Life Syndicate, on Reddit. I was so desperate to find such a community that fit my ideals and goals that I didn’t even conceive that someone could be watching in order to learn about me. They first posted a link to their site on our community’s board, when they were still going by the Awakening Sovereignty Collective. To best understand how I perceived them initially, you have to understand that I was lost in what we at the Shrug Life Syndicate call the synchronicity slip stream. An aspect of my schizoaffective disorder, I often get lost in various series of synchronicities that form a coherent narrative that compels me to behave differently than I otherwise would. It is an amazing feature of my mental health for creativity and finding alternative solutions to problems, but it can be debilitating when trying to fit in to the normal world. When the ASC posted, I believed applying on their website was the obvious thing I should do in order to accomplish my cosmic mission. Well, nothing happened at first, and I forgot about them until several months later until I received an email stating I was hired. This came after a series of strange tasks from anonymous accounts that seemed to be tests to see if I was as capable of a writer as I portrayed myself as being. I remember one test was to see if I could write a sales pitch for “Unicorn Poop,” an edible snack with a humorous twist. I don’t have any proof that these two events are connected, but it definitely tripped my radar as odd that they happened one after another, and nothing ever came from the sales tasks. Having passed their tests, I began working with them online. It was a slow process, as there wasn’t a lot of work right out the gate, but there was a lot to learn. Their websites were many in number and often confusing. I had difficulty navigating them and almost quit trying within days of getting started. I remember crumbling back into my addictive nature one night as the wailing cries of depression came roaring back with my initial perceived failure. If I were not partially psychotic, believing the universe was guiding me to the salvation I sought, then that would have been the end of it. Many other people seemed to have given up while I was still new to working for them. If I were to guess, I would say that this was deliberate on their part in order to weed out only people like me, who were in some way desperate to be a part of the group. With only a small number of desperate people finding their way into the clutches of these people, it must be easier to control them as well. The ASC promised a new way of life for anyone seeking it. They claimed to be a planetary alliance that was helping ecovillages, nonprofits, conscious businesses, and individual change agents. They were working on a cryptocurrency and software suite that would help communities better serve the world. This was at the peak of the bitcoin bubble, where many people unfamiliar with cryptocurrencies were trying to get in on the hype. They touted a number of figures and claims which ultimately turned out to be false or otherwise misrepresentative of the truth, but in the moment I believed everything they were shoveling. It was easy for them to sell the idea and project as they were all natural sales personalities. I attended a lot of meetings, particularly with the writer’s team, and started to get to know the people behind the project. In the moment, they appeared to be down-to-Earth and relatable, but highly conscious individuals who really cared about the world and were motivated to do the work necessary to make the changes needed for the planet. In hindsight, they really only cared about money, and were playing a part to catch people like me. The leader was named Dakota, if that was his real name (I believe most of the main group had adopted a second name to hide who they really were). He was a young man claiming to have graduated high school at ten, and he founded a company known as STADA which was facilitating much if not all of the software needs of the ASC. He was brilliant, but I believe most of his brilliance was self-generated through his ability to sell himself as more than he really was. He always acted like a millionaire who was going to change the world, which made it easy for him to sell the project to people like me. The co-leader was named Lila. She was a cheerful person who always had something positive to add to the conversation. While working with her, I found this to be a powerful part of her personality. It was hard to say no to her, as she had a motherly vibe and she strategically would ask you to do things that left you feeling compelled to help her, for the good of the project. She first won me over by claiming to run a retreat center for circus skills. I only heard of this in the beginning of my journey with the group, so I believe it may have been a bogus means to shift my opinion of them. The leader of the writer’s team was named Teahna, who was beautiful and knew how to use her womanly charm to influence others. She seemed to be new to the project as well, having recently written her first book, and my time working with her online seemed to be a learning experience for both of us. I believe this was also planned, so that I would have some support learning what I was supposed to be doing on the various websites that seemed to pile up more and more as time went on. The work was easy at first. There were no assignments or anything like that. It was all pile work - as in, just grab a shovel and get paid for what you move. As a writer, I naturally gravitated to the writers team’s tasks, but I also helped with the education team and the core tasks of the group. Mostly I wrote articles and website content for them, but I also wrote fake twitter bios, social media posts, and began working on their constitution/manifesto before arriving at their headquarters. I was making good money, both in real dollars and their own cryptocurrency, Equality Keys. They claimed we could trade their currency for real money at any time, which turned out to be a lie. They often only let us exchange it at certain times at a reduced value. But, I was naive enough to believe that the numbers on my screen were real and meant I was doing good. It wasn’t long before I earned upwards of thousands of dollars worth of their currency, which was promised to rise in value as the project continued to grow and evolve. After a few weeks working with them, they began toying with a name change to Earth Nation. I believe this is a key part of their method of staying under the radar. By changing names and projects frequently, they never gather enough clout to be exposed as the charlatans that they are. They would later create a new project known as Earth Cycle, and there was a tentacle organization we got hooked into after our stay with the main group called Lovecycle. In regards to the latter, I will never forget the name Lovecycle, as that is when the bulk of bizarre and traumatic events occured. This is around the same time that my girlfriend at the time began helping out as well. We worked together as a writer and artist combo, and they were initially excited to have another person joining to help. There was some friction though, such as bluntly being told they had no need for an artist at this time after they welcomed her onboard, and there were moments where it seemed like they did not want her to be a part of the project. As they turned her and I against each other much later in our odyssey with them, I think this must have been deliberate to sow the seeds of conflict between us. Again, this is classic cult behavior. I regret bringing her into the whole thing, as she is no doubt as traumatized as I am. What really allowed me to lose myself in the hope of the project was the possibility to do exactly as I dreamed: travel with a caravan, juggle at festivals, help sell whatever my girlfriend and others made, and write gonzo journalism about what Earth Nation was doing. One of the main draws of the group was that they advertised in the meetings about how they had a proposal system, where anyone could come with their plan and it could be voted on to be given resources. They were interested in my idea (how much of that was just gaslighting me to believe I’ve found the perfect gig, I don’t know), and wanted me to do some journalism about my experiences moving to their headquarters just outside Eugene, Oregon - on the other side of the country. My girlfriend and I were ecstatic at the idea of starting a new life on the west coast. It was the dream we both shared, to abandon the broken world we knew and join something better. We began preparing for the move, sold all of our stuff, and eventually took off from the airport with only three bags to our name. It was a leap of faith, and we were never happier to embrace our dreams and begin to live a much more interesting life. Chapter 2 We left on October 25th, about a couple months after I first began working for the ASC. It was an amazing trip that we thought would represent our rebirth. I remember arriving at the airport feeling as though I was leaving a part of my past behind. I felt a wave of solemn emptiness and fear over this, but I have since learned such feelings are common with change of this magnitude. Mostly, I felt joy that a new chapter of my life was unfolding before my eyes. It was a time where it seemed like we had infinite potential right at our fingertips. Who knew what would actually go down over the coming months? We were grateful for the opportunity and happy about the change. My girlfriend even changed her name to Awen to start over fresh as a new person. I still stuck with my birth name, Gregory, but eventually I would start going by the name Rory after having been pressured to by the group. I remember looking out the window while Awen took pictures of everything we flew over. It was a trip in itself to see the world from such an angle. I was amazed at the number of wind farms in the middle of the country. Likewise, the closer we got to our destination, the more mountainous the ground beneath us became. The change in scenery would pale in comparison with the change in the culture of the west coast - one of the main reasons I now consider Portland my new home. Landing in Eugene’s airport, we were regaled with Ducks memorabilia. This was a pleasant surprise, as I had forgotten that this was where an old hero from my track days, Steve Prefontaine, used to run. This made me feel hopeful while waiting for Teahna and Prism, the leader of the educational team. I remember pacing the entrance hall of the airport with a giddy smile stretching from ear to ear. This was it, I told myself: I had finally found my new home. After a long day of airline travel, we were eventually picked up in Prism’s van. We were met with hugs and smiles, which rejuvenated us after the natural stress of the trip. We chatted the entire way back to Triangle Lake, where their headquarters supposedly was. Both Awen and I were antsy while being shaken back and forth while sitting on Prism’s bed for the duration of the drive. I distinctly remember the beautiful colors of the autumn trees as we drove past. This last little bit of our trip took roughly forty-five minutes, but it felt like we were pulling up to the headquarters in an instant. I caught a glimpse of a sign as we pulled into the long driveway: Circle of Children. This would be where we stayed for the first two months. The area was gorgeous. Giant trees covered in green moss extended as far as the eye could see. With the abundance of fern-life, it reminded me of a Jurassic paradise. Out the cracked window of the van, I could hear tree frogs chirping in harmony. It was certainly something out of another world compared to the east coast. We stopped in front of the main office - the only building with wifi. If I were to graph the amount of access to the internet we had across the ten months we were involved, it would have a steady, negative slope. Of course, while being conditioned by the group, it was barely noticed, as we grew less dependent on the internet as time went on. We were never barred from the outside world - in fact we interacted with it regularly - but the idea of leaving was made so impossibly far outside the bounds of possible choices through a long series of scripted events. Which is why the entire beginning of our stay at the Triangle Lake Convention Center seemed like something out of a fantasy paradise. Everything, from the overarching narrative we were fed, to the day-to-day interactions, was designed to win us over, gaslight us, and manipulate us emotionally by using our traumas against us. In the aftermath of the whole escapade, I learned that this is the type of manipulation that cults use to prevent members from seeing reason while keeping them docile, obedient work horses for the greater project, whatever it may be. It is clear to me now that Earth Nation and all tentacle organizations are a purely criminal enterprise - a money-making machine for those at the top of the hierarchical pyramid. Even though we were supposedly a DAO - a decentralized autonomous organization - there were clearly people who were centralized leaders profiting from everything the group did. And everybody played their roles well upon our arrival. We were greeted with another barrage of hugs as we got out of the van. Everybody was excited to finally meet us in person, as were we to meet them. We chatted with Dakota and Lila for some time outside of the office. They were the exact same as their online personas. In the moment, this gave us a sense that these people were genuine, but in hindsight it serves as a reminder that anyone can create a convincing character and play them whenever they want - even if they choose to never take their deceptive masks off. We were then shown where we would be staying. Up the hill and to the left we drove until we were in front of Carmen Hall. It was a quaint dorm-style lodging with a large common area and a small kitchenette. Many nights were spent in the common room with the others who were staying in the building. Because we were a couple, we were given the largest room with its own bathroom. That’s another thing that changed in a downward slope: our living quarters. Over the course of the ten months we were with them, we were downgraded from having our own space, to sharing space, to living in a tent. And again, because of the conditioning, we were fine with the change. Sometime during the early evening, we went back down to the dining hall and kitchen which was across the way from the main office. Here, we met a variety of characters, including Tuva, a humble appearing guy with a large social network he brought with him to the project, and Daniella, who would turn out to be mommy dearest as she was the sole woman controlling us for the majority of our adventure on the west coast. A Brazillian native, she was as good of a manipulator as she was a cook, and we all enjoyed a wonderful meal on our first night in Oregon. Before the night was up, we went behind the kitchen to smoke with a man named Grizzly; a wild looking man who mostly kept quiet but had a mouth to use if he needed it. It was the first time we smoked in Oregon and it felt liberating to finally be in a legal state. But, as freeing and fun as being able to smoke whenever we wanted, I believe the abundance of weed we were constantly fed was a means to keep us docile. Daniella always made sure we had some weed, and would frequently smoke with us. I feel I would have been able to say something as things changed if I were not dependent on the constant stream of marijuana. Afterwards, we went back to Carmen Hall with a couple of members who also stayed there, and Daniella performed a pendulum reading for me and my girlfriend. Holding a crystal on a chain, she “read” the direction it spun as she brought it up in alignment with our chakras. She was spot on and I wanted to say that she had excellent observation skills, but I kept my mouth shut. I didn’t want to offend anyone’s beliefs, especially my girlfriend who considered herself a mystic and bought into the act. That night we cuddled in our room, smiling as wide as our mouths could. We had done it - we successfully started our new lives and were going to be a part of something we still had yet to fully comprehend. Everything was new and exciting, and while we were overjoyed, we were glad we had each other because things were still scary. If only we had known then how scary things would become. Chapter 3 The next morning, we showered, dressed, and went down to the kitchen. There was a slight fog in the air, and we saw a family of deer in a clearing off the road. We would see this family of deer several times during out stay at Triangle Lake, which greatly enthused my girlfriend. She said they were a symbol of wisdom, and must be a good sign as we continued to be indoctrinated by the new age beliefs of the group. We were early, as our daily meetings were at ten and that is when most people started to show up at the office. But Grizzly was there, as he stayed at the nurses station that sat next to the main office. He offered us some dabs, which just further enforced our belief that this was a great group to be a part of. He also offered me a metal six-shooter pipe, which proved to be the main piece I would smoke out of for the entirety of our adventure. Breakfast consisted of whatever we could scrounge up. There was a huge walk-in freezer in the kitchen that hosted tons of food when we first got there. There were also a wide selection of dry foods such as figs and nuts. That whole selection would dwindle over time, as the group got everything as donations, usually by soliciting the local food pantries and the Eugene mission and much was close to their expiration dates. It was common to open the freezer and find something moldy. This was the first time I really interacted with Doran. Doran looked a lot like me - complete with similar beard and glasses - but had shorter, curlier, and darker hair. It was joked that “I was another you.” He appeared to be a really kind-hearted person, and we frequently went to him with problems. This is likely planned as well, to have someone to vent the frustrations we were experiencing as the project transitioned to something different than what we signed up for. I opened up to him before I did with other members, even asking for relationship advice as they tried turning Awen and I against each other between, and received what I now consider a long-standing act of being a good ear with standard advice from the group. Still, he was funny and I enjoyed making strange mixtures of food with him. As it neared ten, we shuffled to the office to have our meeting. The office had two rooms, and we were all huddled in a circle in one of them. This was nice during the coming months as it was also the only room with the heater. These meetings proved to be a main means to program us, as there were many exchanges that could have only been scripted. We would often talk about one thing, but there would be a subtopic that was teased that would change the meaning of the whole meeting in the context that I heard it. Often there would be some crosstalk in the kitchen beforehand, or something during the day that warped my understanding of what was said We were required to work thirty hours a week in order to receive our basic income of two hundred dollars a month, as per our agreements before moving to the headquarters. However, it wasn’t long before they duped us by saying the basic income would be used to cover our time staying at Triangle Lake. We weren’t able to fight it, because our tongues were tied by the desire to fit in and be accepted by the group. The ways that they changed things were gradual and deliberate, so that you would never really feel like you were getting taken advantage of. It was just a change, which was alright, because there was a world to save and we were the group who was going to get it done. That was one of the major ways they were able to get away with a lot of the back-pedaling of agreements - they would always have new, unexpected surprises waiting for us. It was gradual, but they introduced several new elements of communal living that required us to sacrifice more of our money and autonomy. They did this by having so-and-so nonchalantly bringing up these concerns in the meetings, then downplaying the resulting effects as something that should be expected, then agreeing with Dakota or Lila. Keeping track of my hours was a joke. For everything I did, I was told I should have taken less time in order to do. The criticism I received came tongue-in-cheek and constructive at first, but steadily devolved into a series of harsh critiques that would leave me distraught and unable to think clearly. I was still unmedicated back then, and my emotional state was as turbulent as a hurricane. They did similar things to my girlfriend, as Lila took her under her wing, treating her as her child in order to take advantage of her own trauma she had with her mother. If there was one thing these people really excelled at it is control. They figured us out quickly and efficiently and then used our traumas against us. Our second night there consisted of an informal group of the residents who stayed at Carmen Hall staring into each other’s eyes and then saying out loud what we felt at that moment. I remember staring at Daniella, who was a silhouette with the lamp directly behind her, and asking for healing. Something about the way she stared at me seemed to provoke a sense of trust and I felt that she would be able to help with a lot of the problems. That’s one way they won over us and got us to do whatever they wanted. They are experts at gaining people’s trust and then they take advantage of that fact. Through these scripted and planned events they were able to warp our realities to the point where we were already robotic slaves right off the bat. We certainly were eager to earn their approval and work our way to a position where we were seen as valuable members of the project. One of these planned events was Kukui’s birthday, which was just a few days after we got there. Kukui was a groundskeeper who had previously lived in Hawaii and was joked as being a ginger Jesus. He was an incredible person who really cared about the Earth. I have no idea if he was part of the manipulation or if he was there on similar beliefs that this was a group doing immense good in the world. Early on during the night’s preparation, Dakota and Lila walked up to us and asked if we wanted to go out to eat with them. This struck us as odd that they would abandon Kukui on his birthday, but we didn’t see it as too weird at the time. We struck up a conversation, where it was revealed that Dakota had two EBT cards from different states. One big hook they sunk into us was the idea that it was us versus the government. They managed to convince us that the institutions of the world were parasitic - which they usually are - but did it in such a way that made us feel like we were in a spiritual war against the bad boogie men of the world. And they managed this by gradually exposing us to more and more deliberate acts of defiance, in order to manifest our own sovereignty against the parasitic government. It’s what led to us accepting some of their more diabolic schemes. For instance, there was talk about building a village in Ava, Missouri, moving all their people in, and then taking over the mayorship. They chose Missouri for this plan due to the different building codes of the state. In the moment, this seemed like a brilliant plan for expanding the influence of Earth Nation, but in hindsight appears to be a dystopian means to increase their power and continue taking advantage of people. These were little seeds they planted that made us more comfortable with doing certain things that we otherwise wouldn’t. Awen was particularly uncomfortable with many of the things we did, but eventually they did get her to help out with their schemes. By keeping us under fear and gradually conditioning us, they were able to make us obedient as we were always looking out for our immediate survival. Fear. That is an emotion I am now excessively familiar with as a result of this cult. While I have battled paranoia all my life, they took those primal emotions and twisted them to the point that I had no idea which way was up. Each day gradually became a battle while being on high alert, as I constantly scrambled to overcome whatever artificial set-backs were planted in my way and keep up with the workload that was presented to me. My first exposure to this form of emotional manipulation came during Halloween. The night began jovially as Doran wore a plastic bag as a costume and invented a new dance that we all participated in. Daniella was preparing a large meal in the kitchen while we helped and played in rhythm to one another. The dinner we shared was only part of the night’s events that would change my life completely. After dinner, Awen and I went back to our room and talked about what we wanted to do that night. The rest of the group was still down at the dining hall and preparing for a fun night of festivities. Awen was not opposed to me going, but she was and still is a pagan and wanted to celebrate her ancestors as per the tradition of Samhain. I debated spending the night with her, but the opportunity to spend time with these new people in our life made me curious as to what they would be doing. I will also admit that I was much more controlled by my addictive nature and was excited to drink with them. So down I went. As I entered the dining hall, I saw that they were drinking tequila and generally having a great time. Naturally, I joined in and took a shot. Jovial times were had, and some time later I was offered another shot, but I did not see them pour this one. This turned out to be a crucial mistake on my part as I would find out that there was something else, something with psychedelic qualities, in the drink. It was not LSD, as I am familiar with the effects of that drug, so I am at a loss for what it could have been. As the night went on I began to feel funny. It wasn’t until we were in a smoke circle that I began to notice something was wrong. I had trouble forming words and when Grizzly asked me a question all I could muster was a “hi!” This tripped me up and I went inside to go sit down. This is where my memory starts to get fuzzy. I was mostly left alone as I sat cross-legged on a mat on the floor, but eventually there were three other people sitting around me, with a bottle placed in the center of us. I remember Prism and Josh, a carpenter who was doing some work on the buildings at Triangle Lake, were two of the people surrounding me, but I don’t remember any of the conversation they were having. I just remember getting really spooked at that time and tried to leave. I don’t know how long it took me to get back to Awen, but I do remember the headlights of a vehicle coming down the hill as I was going up. It was late by the time I made it back in into Carmen Hall, which suggests that I have no memory of what happened after the apparent spin-the-bottle episode. My memory starts to get better as I remember lying there with Awen trying to articulate what was going on, but my words just spiraled into incomprehensible nonsense. She was worried for me, just as I was worried for myself. The next morning continued on as if nothing ever happened, but I was emotionally jostled for the next few days. Nothing was ever said about what happened the night before, and a part of me was terrified that something happened Because my mother had AIDS, and that is a terror I still battle to this day, I obsessed over the idea that Prism, who was HIV positive, may have done something with me. I’ve since been tested and everything’s fine, but for a while I was terrified that I was raped. Was that a rational or irrational fear? I’ll never know. What I do know is that they took advantage of my perturbed state by subtly twisting the knife in the following days with their synchronous set-ups, making me feel guilty that I did not choose to spend time with Awen that night, and thus making me work harder than ever before. Chapter 4 in comments
https://preview.redd.it/l8euyild5a431.jpg?width=800&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=96aae292b778e5b4f4dc06d15f33314b3f48594d Hi crypto friends. "The World of the Future" will be a digital world. In the future, it is inevitable to add the “fiat currencies digital to the digitized ones, the central government money circulating in the market. In this context, the technological appeal of the blockchain attracts the attention of some states. Because blockchain technology reduces transfer and storage costs at exceptional speeds and inexpensively. The starting point for Blockchain is that it started with the emergence of Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency in 2009. As with all innovations, initially criticisms that this was a trap, a structure would not work, and how the value was determined did not come up. This issue has been under discussion for quite some time, but during this time Bitcoin investors have increasingly increased the market value of Bitcoin. This increase led to the formation of alternative cryptocurrencies, leading to the formation of the current cryptocurrency market. However, in this context, we will not talk about the future of the crypto money market or what sub-currencies will invest. As we mentioned in the title, our current position is the use of Blockchain technology in digital marketing based on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Crypto World has just entered our lives. Crypto issues occur every day and every second on all social media networks, including the mainstream media. One of the new products of this phenomenon that strongly influences our lives is the WIBSON Project. In our new article, I will give you information about the WIBSON Project. We can define Blockchain technology as a distributed database that provides encrypted transaction tracking. As its name implies, Blockchain technology, a closely monitored chain model, enables transactions to be performed independently of a center, so that transactions can be made directly between the buyer and the seller. This is comparable to sharing personal music through Napster. Even some experts who suspect that Bitcoin itself is today believe that blockchain technology will benefit in many areas. Blockchain technology, which extends development and usage areas in digital marketing and all other sectors with its secure marketing infrastructure, continues to develop by changing the way many sectors work. What is Wibson? Wibson can be defined as a blockchain-based, Decentralized, Privacy Protected Data Marketplace, or dPDM. It is a decentralized information market that is safe, reliable and transparent and ensures that private information is conveyed effectively and efficiently by persons approved for such services and purposes. A Ticker known as WIB and Wibson Token is the traditional markers of the Wibson platform. WIB is based on the Ethereum smart contract network. It is also a utility token. Since the WIB utility code is built on the Ethereum smart contract, it will, in turn, facilitate data exchange on the WIBSON network/platform and also provide a large amount of data value on the network. The markers from these above-mentioned activities will be burned, which will reduce the amount of WIB in circulation and also help increase the market value of WIB due to marker shortage. Consideration is the fact that no WIB tokens will be created, printed or mined after the First Money Offer (ICO). The availability of WIB will further enhance the development of the network and will also provide fast, secure, transparent, efficient operations on the Wibson platform. WIB will be used for any transaction, service, and purchase (purchase and sale of stored data) on the Wibson platform. Owners have certain privileges, including: register as storage nodes (this means fee fees to store or transmit data only) and participation in the data market. Predicted Prior to Market Area With the Data Market, as between producers and other relevant institutions, there is a gross reputation for information. All members (first of all and at the same time) can be better than them, no matter what and no matter how hard they try. Most of them can also be about them: Among them, it is decided that no action has been taken and they decide to carry out the exercise. This information may sell the information obtained through valuation and then the information obtained. Most of them are in the eyes of everyone, first of all, first of all, first of all. This means that the information cannot be manipulated and controlled. He was also among the fourth children. WIBSON TOKEN DISTRIBUTION The Wibson token is distributed in the following faction. A total of nine billion WIB tokens have been generated. Wibson will retain 20% of the Wibson token supply for advisors, team members, and partners. 40% of the total WIB supply will be reserved for Market Participants (Data Sellers, Data Buyers, and Notaries). We have reserved up to 40% for sale to private accredited investors in pre-sale transactions. https://preview.redd.it/onz5v5n05a431.png?width=682&format=png&auto=webp&s=b764a725a67f90bc8df34db5fdbc1df0bcb70cfd Links: Website: https://wibson.org Whitepaper: https://wibson.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Wibson-Technical-Paper-v1.1.pdf Twitter: https://twitter.com/WibsonOrg Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WibsonOrg/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/wibson/ -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Author: Cemil Çamkara Bounty0x username: germandivision Telegram: https://t.me/doenitzkarl77
Georgia Tombstones (Part 2) by Jayge 8^J "Project Blue Beam is a conspiracy theory that claims that NASA is attempting to implement a New Age religion with the Antichrist at its head and start a New World Order, via a technologically-simulated Second Coming. The allegations were presented in 1994 by Quebecois journalist and conspiracy theorist Serge Monast, and later published in his book Project Blue Beam (NASA). Proponents of the theory allege that Monast and another unnamed journalist, who both died of heart attacks in 1996, were in fact assassinated, and that the Canadian government kidnapped Monast's daughter in an effort to dissuade him from investigating Project Blue Beam. The project was apparently supposed to be implemented in 1983, but it didn't happen. It was then set for implementation in 1995 and then 1996. Monast thought Project Blue Beam would be brought to fruition by the year 2000, really, definitely, for sure. The theory is widely popular (for a conspiracy theory) on the Internet, with many web pages dedicated to the subject, and countless YouTube videos explaining it. The actual source material, however, is very thin indeed. Monast lectured on the theory in the mid-1990s (a transcript of one such lecture is widely available), before writing and publishing his book, which has not been reissued by his current publisher and is all but unobtainable. The currently available pages and videos all appear to trace back to four documents: A transcript of the 1994 lecture by Monast, translated into English. A GeoCities page written by David Openheimer and which appears to draw on the original book. A page on educate-yourself.org, compiled in 2005, which appears to include a translation of the book from the French. Monast's page in French Wikipedia. The French Wikipedia article is largely sourced from two books on conspiracy theories and extremism by Pierre-André Taguieff, a mainstream academic expert on racist and extremist groups. From these few texts have come a flood of green ink, in text and video form, in several languages. Even the French language material typically does not cite the original book but the English language pages on educate-yourself.org. However, conspiracy theorists seem to use quantity as a measure of substance (much as alternative medicine uses appeal to tradition) and never mind the extremely few sources it all traces back to. Proponents of the theory have extrapolated it to embrace HAARP, 9/11, the Norwegian Spiral, chemtrails, FEMA concentration camps and Tupac Shakur. Everything is part of Project Blue Beam. It's well on its way to becoming the Unified Conspiracy Theory. Behold A Pale Horse, William Cooper's 1991 green ink magnum opus, has lately been considered a prior claim of, hence supporting evidence for, Blue Beam by advocates. The book is where a vast quantity of now-common conspiracy memes actually came from, so retrospectively claiming it as prior evidence is somewhere between cherrypicking and the Texas sharpshooter fallacy. However, the following quotes, from pages 180-181, intersect slightly with the specific themes of Blue Beam: It is true that without the population or the bomb problem the elect would use some other excuse to bring about the New World Order. They have plans to bring about things like earthquakes, war, the Messiah, an extra-terrestrial landing, and economic collapse. They might bring about all of these things just to make damn sure that it does work. They will do whatever is necessary to succeed. The Illuminati has all the bases covered and you are going to have to be on your toes to make it through the coming years. Can you imagine what will happen if Los Angeles is hit with a 9.0 quake, New York City is destroyed by a terrorist-planted atomic bomb, World War III breaks out in the Middle East, the banks and the stock markets collapse, Extraterrestrials land on the White House lawn, food disappears from the markets, some people disappear, the Messiah presents himself to the world, and all in a very short period of time? Can you imagine? The world power structure can, and will if necessary, make some or all of those things happen to bring about the New World Order. “Without a universal belief in the new age religion, the success of the new world order will be impossible!” The alleged purpose of Project Blue Beam is to bring about a global New Age religion, which is seen as a core requirement for the New World Order's dictatorship to be realised. There's nothing new in thinking of religion as a form of control, but the existence of multiple religions, spin-off cults, competing sects and atheists suggest that controlling the population entirely through a single religion isn't particularly easy. Past attempts have required mechanisms of totalitarianism such as the Inquisition. Monast's theory, however, suggests using sufficiently advanced technology to trick people into believing. Of course, the plan would have to assume that people could never fathom the trick at all — something contested by anyone sane enough not to swallow this particular conspiracy. The primary claimed perpetrator of Project Blue Beam is NASA, presented as a large and mostly faceless organization that can readily absorb such frankly odd accusations, aided by the United Nations, another old-time boogeyman of conspiracy theorists. According to Monast, the project has four steps: Step One requires the breakdown of all archaeological knowledge. This will apparently be accomplished by faking earthquakes at precise locations around the planet. Fake "new discoveries" at these locations "will finally explain to all people the error of all fundamental religious doctrines", specifically Christian and Muslim doctrines. This makes some degree of sense — if you want to usurp a current way of thinking you need to completely destroy it before putting forward your own. However, religious belief is notoriously resilient to things like facts. The Shroud of Turin is a famous example that is still believed by many to be a genuine shroud of Jesus as opposed to the medieval forgery that it has been conclusively shown to be. Prayer studies, too, show how difficult it is to shift religious conviction with mere observational fact — indeed, many theologians avoid making falsifiable claims or place belief somewhere specifically beyond observation to aid this. So what finds could possibly fundamentally destroy both Christianity and Islam, almost overnight, and universally all over the globe? Probably nothing. Yet, this is only step one of an increasingly ludicrous set of events that Project Blue Beam predicts will occur. Step Two involves a gigantic "space show" wherein three-dimensional holographic laser projections will be beamed all over the planet — and this is where Blue Beam really takes off. The projections will take the shape of whatever deity is most predominant, and will speak in all languages. At the end of this light show, the gods will all merge into one god, the Antichrist. This is a rather baffling plan as it seems to assume people will think this is actually their god, rather than the more natural twenty-first century assumption that it is a particularly opaque Coca Cola advertisement. Evidence commonly advanced for this is a supposed plan to project the face of Allah, despite its contradiction with Muslim belief of God's uniqueness, over Baghdad in 1991 to tell the Iraqis to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Someone, somewhere, must have thought those primitive, ignorant non-Western savages wouldn't have had television or advertising, and would never guess it was being done with mirrors. In general, pretty much anything that either a) involves light or b) has been seen in the sky has been put forward as evidence that Project Blue Beam is real, and such things are "tests" of the technology — namely unidentified flying objects. Existing display technology such as 3D projection mapping and holograms are put forward as foreshadowing the great light show in the sky. This stage will apparently be accomplished with the aid of a Soviet computer that will be fed "with the minute physio-psychological particulars based on their studies of the anatomy and electro-mechanical composition of the human body, and the studies of the electrical, chemical and biological properties of the human brain", and every human has been allocated a unique radio wavelength. The computers are also capable of inducing suicidal thoughts. The Soviets are (not "were") the "New World Order" people. Why NASA would use a Soviet computer when the USSR had to import or copy much of its computer technology from the West is not detailed. The second part of Step Two happens when the holograms result in the dissolution of social and religious order, "setting loose millions of programmed religious fanatics through demonic possession on a scale never witnessed before." The United Nations plans to use Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" as the anthem for the introduction of the new age one world religion. There is relatively little to debunk in this, the most widely remembered section of the Project Blue Beam conspiracy, as the idea is so infeasible. Citing actual existing communication technology is odd if the point is for the end product to appear magical, rather than just as cheap laser projections onto clouds. This hasn't stopped some very strange conspiracy theories about such things popping up. Indeed, the notion of gods being projected into the sky was floated in 1991 by conspiracy theorist Betty J. Mills. And US general (and CIA shyster extraordinaire), Edward Lansdale, actually floated a plan to fake a Second Coming over Cuba to get rid of Castro. Step Three is "Telepathic Electronic Two-Way Communication." It involves making people think their god is speaking to them through telepathy, projected into the head of each person individually using extreme low frequency radio waves. (Atheists will presumably hear an absence of Richard Dawkins.) The book goes to some lengths to describe how this would be feasible, including a claim that ELF thought projection caused the depressive illness of Michael Dukakis' wife Kitty. Step Four has three parts: Making humanity think an alien invasion is about to occur at every major city; Making the Christians think the Rapture is about to happen; A mixture of electronic and supernatural forces, allowing the supernatural forces to travel through fiber optics, coax, power and telephone lines to penetrate all electronic equipment and appliances, that will by then all have a special microchip installed. Then chaos will break out, and people will finally be willing — perhaps even desperate — to accept the New World Order. "The techniques used in the fourth step is exactly the same used in the past in the USSR to force the people to accept Communism." A device has apparently already been perfected that will lift enormous numbers of people, as in a Rapture. UFO abductions are tests of this device. Project Blue Beam proponents believe psychological preparations have already been made, Monast having claimed that 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars and the Star Trek series all involve an invasion from space and all nations coming together (the first two don't, the third is peaceful contact) and that Jurassic Park propagandises evolution in order to make people think God's words are lies. The book detailed the theory. In the 1994 lecture, Monast detailed what would happen afterwards. All people will be required to take an oath to Lucifer with a ritual initiation to enter the New World Order. Resisters will be categorised as follows: Christian children will be kept for human sacrifice or sexual slaves. Prisoners to be used in medical experiments. Prisoners to be used as living organ banks. Healthy workers in slave labour camps. Uncertain prisoners in the international re-education center, thence to repent on television and learn to glorify the New World Order. The international execution centre. An as yet unknown seventh classification. Joel Engel's book Gene Roddenberry: The Myth and the Man Behind Star Trek was released in 1994, shortly before Monast's lecture on Project Blue Beam: “In May 1975, Gene Roddenberry accepted an offer from Paramount to develop Star Trek into a feature film, and moved back into his old office on the Paramount lot. His proposed story told of a flying saucer, hovering above Earth, that was programmed to send down people who looked like prophets, including Jesus Christ.” All the steps of the conspiracy theory were in the unmade mid-'70s Star Trek film script by Roddenberry, which were recycled for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode Devil's Due, broadcast in 1991. There is no evidence of deliberate fraud on Monast's part; given his head was quite thoroughly full of squirrels and confetti by this time, it's entirely plausible that he thought this was the revelation of secret information in a guise safe for propagation. However, the actual source was so obvious that even other conspiracy theorists noticed. They confidently state it was obvious that Monast had been fed deceptive information by the CIA. Of course!" -- rationalwiki.org "Serge Monast was a Québécois investigative journalist, poet, essayist and conspiracy theorist. He is known to English-speaking readers mainly for Project Blue Beam and associated conspiracy tropes. His works on Masonic conspiracy theories and the New World Order also remain popular with French-speaking conspiracy theorists and enthusiasts." -- Wikipedia "A human microchip implant is typically an identifying integrated circuit device or RFID transponder encased in silicate glass and implanted in the body of a human being. This type of subdermal implant usually contains a unique ID number that can be linked to information contained in an external database, such as personal identification, law enforcement, medical history, medications, allergies, and contact information. The first experiments with an RFID implant were carried out in 1998 by the British scientist Kevin Warwick. His implant was used to open doors, switch on lights, and cause verbal output within a building. After nine days the implant was removed and has since been held in the Science Museum (London). On 16 March 2009 British scientist Mark Gasson had an advanced glass capsule RFID device surgically implanted into his left hand. In April 2010 Gasson's team demonstrated how a computer virus could wirelessly infect his implant and then be transmitted on to other systems. Gasson reasoned that with implanted technology the separation between man and machine can become theoretical because the technology can be perceived by the human as being a part of their body. Because of this development in our understanding of what constitutes our body and its boundaries he became credited as being the first human infected by a computer virus. He has no plans to remove his implant. Several hobbyists have placed RFID microchip implants into their hands or had them inserted by others. Amal Graafstra, author of the book RFID Toys, asked doctors to place implants in his hands in March 2005. A cosmetic surgeon used a scalpel to place a microchip in his left hand, and his family doctor injected a chip into his right hand using a veterinary Avid injector kit. Graafstra uses the implants to access his home, open car doors, and to log on to his computer. With public interest growing, in 2013 he launched biohacking company Dangerous Things and crowdfunded the world's first implantable NFC transponder in 2014. He has also spoken at various events and promotional gigs including TEDx, and built a smartgun that only fires after reading his implant. Alejandro Hernandez CEO of Futura is known to be the first in Central America to have Dangerous Things' transponder installed in his left hand by Federico Cortes in November 2017. Mikey Sklar had a chip implanted into his left hand and filmed the procedure. Jonathan Oxer self-implanted an RFID chip in his arm using a veterinary implantation tool. Martijn Wismeijer, Dutch marketing manager for Bitcoin ATM manufacturer General Bytes, placed RFID chips in both of his hands to store his Bitcoin private keys and business card. Patric Lanhed sent a “bio-payment” of one euro worth of Bitcoin using a chip embedded in his hand. Marcel Varallo had an NXP chip coated in Bioglass 8625 inserted into his hand between his forefinger and thumb allowing him to open secure elevators and doors at work, print from secure printers, unlock his mobile phone and home, and store his digital business card for transfer to mobile phones enabled for NFC. Biohacker Hannes Sjöblad has been experimenting with NFC (Near Field Communication) chip implants since 2015. During his talk at Echappée Voléé 2016 in Paris, Sjöblad disclosed that he has also implanted himself between his forefinger and thumb and uses it to unlock doors, make payments, and unlock his phone (essentially replacing anything you can put in your pockets). Additionally, Sjöblad has hosted several "implant parties," where interested individuals can also be implanted with the chip. Researchers have examined microchip implants in humans in the medical field and they indicate that there are potential benefits and risks to incorporating the device in the medical field. For example, it could be beneficial for noncompliant patients but still poses great risks for potential misuse of the device. Destron Fearing, a subsidiary of Digital Angel, initially developed the technology for the VeriChip. In 2004, the VeriChip implanted device and reader were classified as Class II: General controls with special controls by the FDA; that year the FDA also published a draft guidance describing the special controls required to market such devices. About the size of a grain of rice, the device was typically implanted between the shoulder and elbow area of an individual’s right arm. Once scanned at the proper frequency, the chip responded with a unique 16-digit number which could be then linked with information about the user held on a database for identity verification, medical records access and other uses. The insertion procedure was performed under local anesthetic in a physician's office. Privacy advocates raised concerns regarding potential abuse of the chip, with some warning that adoption by governments as a compulsory identification program could lead to erosion of civil liberties, as well as identity theft if the device should be hacked. Another ethical dilemma posed by the technology, is that people with dementia could possibly benefit the most from an implanted device that contained their medical records, but issues of informed consent are the most difficult in precisely such people. In June 2007, the American Medical Association declared that "implantable radio frequency identification (RFID) devices may help to identify patients, thereby improving the safety and efficiency of patient care, and may be used to enable secure access to patient clinical information", but in the same year, news reports linking similar devices to cancer caused in laboratory animals had a devastating impact on the company's stock price and sales. In 2010, the company, by then called "PositiveID", withdrew the product from the market due to poor sales. In January 2012, PositiveID sold the chip assets to a company called VeriTeQ that was owned by Scott Silverman, the former CEO of Positive ID. In 2016, JAMM Technologies acquired the chip assets from VeriTeQ; JAMM's business plan was to partner with companies selling implanted medical devices and use the RFID tags to monitor and identify the devices. JAMM Technologies is co-located in the same Plymouth, Minnesota building as Geissler Corporation with Randolph K. Geissler and Donald R. Brattain listed as its principals. The website also claims that Geissler was CEO of PositiveID Corporation, Destron Fearing Corporation, and Digital Angel Corporation. In 2018, A Danish firm called BiChip released a new generation of microchip implant that is intended to be readable from distance and connected to Internet. The company released an update for its microchip implant to associate it with the Ripple cryptocurrency to allow payments to be made using the implanted microchip. In February 2006, CityWatcher, Inc. of Cincinnati, OH became the first company in the world to implant microchips into their employees as part of their building access control and security system. The workers needed the implants to access the company's secure video tape room, as documented in USA Today. The project was initiated and implemented by Six Sigma Security, Inc. The VeriChip Corporation had originally marketed the implant as a way to restrict access to secure facilities such as power plants. A major drawback for such systems is the relative ease with which the 16-digit ID number contained in a chip implant can be obtained and cloned using a hand-held device, a problem that has been demonstrated publicly by security researcher Jonathan Westhues and documented in the May 2006 issue of Wired magazine, among other places. The Baja Beach Club, a nightclub in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, once used VeriChip implants for identifying VIP guests. The Epicenter in Stockholm, Sweden is using RFID implants for employees to operate security doors, copiers, and pay for lunch. In 2017 Mike Miller, chief executive of the World Olympians Association, was widely reported as suggesting the use of such implants in athletes in an attempt to reduce problems in sport due to drug taking. Theoretically, a GPS-enabled chip could one day make it possible for individuals to be physically located by latitude, longitude, altitude, speed, and direction of movement. Such implantable GPS devices are not technically feasible at this time. However, if widely deployed at some future point, implantable GPS devices could conceivably allow authorities to locate missing persons and/or fugitives and those who fled from a crime scene. Critics contend, however, that the technology could lead to political repression as governments could use implants to track and persecute human rights activists, labor activists, civil dissidents, and political opponents; criminals and domestic abusers could use them to stalk and harass their victims; and child abusers could use them to locate and abduct children. Another suggested application for a tracking implant, discussed in 2008 by the legislature of Indonesia's Irian Jaya would be to monitor the activities of persons infected with HIV, aimed at reducing their chances of infecting other people. The microchipping section was not, however, included into the final version of the provincial HIV/AIDS Handling bylaw passed by the legislature in December 2008. With current technology, this would not be workable anyway, since there is no implantable device on the market with GPS tracking capability. Since modern payment methods rely upon RFID/NFC, it is thought that implantable microchips, if they were to ever become popular in use, would form a part of the cashless society. Verichip implants have already been used in nightclubs such as the Baja club for such a purpose, allowing patrons to purchase drinks with their implantable microchip. In a self-published report anti-RFID advocate Katherine Albrecht, who refers to RFID devices as "spy chips", cites veterinary and toxicological studies carried out from 1996 to 2006 which found lab rodents injected with microchips as an incidental part of unrelated experiments and dogs implanted with identification microchips sometimes developed cancerous tumors at the injection site (subcutaneous sarcomas) as evidence of a human implantation risk. However, the link between foreign-body tumorigenesis in lab animals and implantation in humans has been publicly refuted as erroneous and misleading and the report's author has been criticized over the use of "provocative" language "not based in scientific fact". Notably, none of the studies cited specifically set out to investigate the cancer risk of implanted microchips and so none of the studies had a control group of animals that did not get implanted. While the issue is considered worthy of further investigation, one of the studies cited cautioned "Blind leaps from the detection of tumors to the prediction of human health risk should be avoided". The Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA) of the American Medical Association published a report in 2007 alleging that RFID implanted chips may compromise privacy because there is no assurance that the information contained in the chip can be properly protected. Following Wisconsin and North Dakota, California issued Senate Bill 362 in 2007, which makes it illegal to force a person to have a microchip implanted, and provide for an assessment of civil penalties against violators of the bill. In 2008, Oklahoma passed 63 OK Stat § 63-1-1430 (2008 S.B. 47), that bans involuntary microchip implants in humans. On April 5, 2010, the Georgia Senate passed Senate Bill 235 that prohibits forced microchip implants in humans and that would make it a misdemeanor for anyone to require them, including employers. The bill would allow voluntary microchip implants, as long as they are performed by a physician and regulated by the Georgia Composite Medical Board. The state's House of Representatives did not take up the measure. On February 10, 2010, Virginia's House of Delegates also passed a bill that forbids companies from forcing their employees to be implanted with tracking devices. Washington State House Bill 1142-2009-10 orders a study using implanted radio frequency identification or other similar technology to electronically monitor sex offenders and other felons. The general public are most familiar with microchips in the context of tracking their pets. In the U.S., some Christian activists, including conspiracy theorist Mark Dice, the author of a book titled The Resistance Manifesto, make a link between the PositiveID and the Biblical Mark of the Beast, prophesied to be a future requirement for buying and selling, and a key element of the Book of Revelation. Gary Wohlscheid, president of These Last Days Ministries, has argued that "Out of all the technologies with potential to be the mark of the beast, VeriChip has got the best possibility right now"." -- Wikipedia "In this latest book Joseph P Farrell examines the subject of mind control, but from a very unusual perspective, showing that its basic underlying philosophy, and goal, is not only cosmological in nature, but that the cosmology in view is very ancient, and that mind control of any sort, from the arts to hypnosis, remote electromagnetic technologies and “electroencephalographic dictionaries” has cosmological implications." -- Microcosm and Medium: The Cosmic Implications and Agenda of Mind Control Technologies publisher's description
60 DoD Week 6: Finances By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. – Ben Franklin Having a financial plan is vitally important for a number of reasons. What do you think the greatest stressor in relationships is? The lack of sex your wife is giving you? Close one. It’s money, although your shaved balls might think otherwise. So don’t you think having a plan is critical to fixing your well-being? You have a MAP to get in shape. Why don’t you have a plan for your finances. This post might better well be served in personal finance, but screw it. I’m going to town. For the folks overseas, some of this content might be US-specific. On Net Worth In order to calculate your net worth, you need to take your assets, such as your checking account, savings, house, etc, and subtract your liabilities, your mortgage, credit card debts, and loans, and you’ll get your net worth. This is a good time to be spreadsheet guy. But instead of counting how many ladies you are seeing or counting how many times you had sex, use Excel for its intended purpose. Start calculating it annually, quarterly, monthly. Whatever frequency you feel like you need to get a handle on where your net worth is going. For myself, I do this quarterly, though I have my finger on the pulse pretty frequently. On Budget You want to get ahead? You have to operate on a budget. Know what you are spending, what you are saving, and where your money is going. For me, I’ve got it set where it takes me about 7 minutes to log into the various accounts, take certain numbers like food spend and so forth, and plug those numbers into the Excel boxes. Plugging them in allows me to quickly project the next three months spend and where I’ll be. Some numbers are easy to find, like the fixed costs of mortgage and student loans. Some numbers you have to estimate or look up, like variable food costs and gas/electric. I do this about once a month. It doesn’t take long at all – just making sure I have good cash flow and sticking to my budget. Take the time to do a detailed line item comparison. You should know exactly how much is going where. The real key though is STICKING TO YOUR BUDGET. You have to keep to it in order to meet your goals. On Financial Literacy It’s key to have a good understanding on financial literacy. You have to understand things such as what is the market, what is a stock, what is a bond, what is a dividend, what is a mutual fund, and so forth. You have to know what you are investing in. Take your financial knowledge and move it up. There are literally tons of free information out there. Start going to town. And for the advanced players, go learn the ins and outs of your brokerage firm’s website and trading platform – I mean really learn it, not just “Oh, here’s how I do a buy order on a stock.” Learn how to screen for stocks, mutual funds, and bonds effectively. Side note – If you are in the US, I recommend joining AAII. I have gotten a great deal of value out of my membership to them. A number of HNW individuals I know recommended it to me, though I had joined and got the lifetime membership before I met them. On Bogleheads Personally, I’m a Boglehead. Jack Bogle, man, he was the Chad of passive investing. I believe that passive investing (indexing) long term beats active investing long term. So does Warren Buffet. All my research agrees with this from a long term standpoint. I’m also a fan of creating an Investment Policy Statement Boglehead Resources https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Bogleheads%C2%AE_investment_philosophy https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/What_the_experts_say_about_investing https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/The_twelve_pillars_of_wisdom / https://web.archive.org/web/20070304091730/http://www.vanguard.com/bogle_site/april272001.html https://studentloanhero.com/featured/bogleheads-invest/ https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/index.php I would highly encourage you to review these links and check out their philosophy on investing. On Being a Contrarian I’m also a fan of being a contrarian. Be greedy when others are fearful, and fearful when others are greedy. You see it with the Bitcoin bubble. You see it when the stock market goes up and down. Oh no, the market is going down… whatever shall we do?!? You stick to your guns. I’m not saying go catch a falling knife. I’m saying that you stick to your plan. There is opportunity when people are fearful, and caution is warranted when people are being greedy. You have to evaluate where we are in the economic cycle as well. On a Cup of Starbucks and Retirement You might have seen the example where someone buys a cup of Starbucks every day and then finds out that if they took that money and invested it toward their retirement, over the span of say 30 years they’ll have like an extra 200k. I have two comments on this. First, be frugal, but don’t deny yourself. Don’t let frugality control you. Second, don’t just focus on controlling the little changes like saving a cup of Starbucks every week, focus on the BIG areas. Focus on getting a new job that pays you an extra 40k per year. Focus on saving 100 bucks off your cable (1200 bucks saved per year). Focus on lowering your taxes. What I’m saying is focus on not just the small areas, but also make the bigger impact areas a higher priority. And stop drinking so much Starbucks – make it yourself. Grind the beans, for crying out loud. On Automating Automate your finances. Make it EASY for yourself to save money. Set up your automatic bill payments for your credit card, loans, mortgage, and bills. Take advantage of the modern tools nowadays for app/camera based check deposits. Have money taken out of your paycheck before you get it, whether it is for retirement or into a separate savings account, so you can accumulate a rainy day fund. I’ve automated as much as I can, with direct withdrawals taken out for mortgage, credit card payments, gas and electric, and for the other areas like telephone those are automatically paid from the credit card, which then is automatically paid from the checking account. Automating saves time, which is a critical resource. On Buying a Car Here’s your resources: https://www.reddit.com/askcarsales/wiki/index https://www.reddit.com/askcarsales/comments/19niva/car_buying_faqs/ https://www.reddit.com/askcarsales/comments/4j2okj/what_to_expect_from_your_dealership_visit/ https://www.reddit.com/askcarsales/comments/613jvn/askcarsales_faq_updated_march_2017/ http://fightingchance.com/ - I used these for private market research, and was worth every penny. There’s a lot more here, but this should get you through the basics. Simply, knowledge is power. The more you know, the more power you have. If you don’t know every single line item that is going into your purchase, whether it is an accessory, taxes, that stupid coating that they try to sell you for $1000 but it’s really just worth $100, etc., then you’re not ready, and you’re more likely to be fleeced. Just even walking into the dealership and observing other customers and their interactions with the car salesman, it’s like watching sheep. Don’t be a sheep. Be prepared. And be prepared to walk too. Cars are a commodity. You can buy the same car someplace else cheaper. Remember this – cars are a commodity, and there’s lots of dealers out there. Side note – “But Steel, what about TrueCar? That seems awesome. I’ll just go in, get my TrueCaCostco/KBB/XXX price and I won’t even have to do anything to get a great price.” Let me tell you this. Dealers would be HAPPY to sell you at the TrueCar price all day long. With proper preparation, you can negotiate a far better deal. Last time when preparing, I had a binder. That binder saved me over 9k. Cost me 5 bucks at the local pharmacy. Printed out all my info, was prepared as all get out, and had a prepared offer ready to go (I used my own sheet, not theirs). Be prepared, that’s what I’m saying. And don’t fall for the four square technique. I just chuckled at the different dealerships at how they try to pull that one. Hell, I went through YouTube and viewed a couple of videos on how car salesmen sell, so I had an understanding of their mentality and what they do. Be prepared. Generally, there are five major parts for buying a car: Trading in your current car, buying your new car, buying options on a car (like that fancy heated steering-wheel), extended warranty, and financing. You should own every single area of this. As an example, when you are talking about trading in your current car, you should ALREADY have your price quote from CarMax in hand, as well as other offers from other dealers. You should know what your car is worth if it were to be sold (remember supply and demand – what is it really worth: what someone will buy it for). You should already have the KBB and Edmunds value of your used car. For your new car, you should have a breakdown of every single thing on it, including options, doc fees and ERT. For your fancy accessories, you should have the MSRP of these accessories, the actual cost of them buying (wholesale parts warehouse), and an estimate in your head on labor costs (cause parts don’t get installed by themselves). For your extended warranty, I would just say that there is a reason why this is one of the most profitable areas of a car dealership. If you simply must have an extended warranty for peace of mind, go find a wholesale warranty. Do your research. Don’t buy from the dealership. Most cars nowadays anyway are built quite well with high standards of quality control, so they’re not failing like they used to. On financing, make sure you set up your own financing before you walk in. It makes life much easier, as the car dealers get money on financing as well. If the dealership can beat your credit union, more power to them. It’s powerful as all get out when you walk in with a prewritten cashier’s check at a super low interest rate and you’re ready when they start asking you how you are going to pay for the car. “Well, I am preapproved for x amount (aka the full amount of the car), but I’d like to see what specials and discounts you have.” It’s all about how much money you can save in each one of these areas. Granted if you’re BETA BUCKS and your time is worth more than doing a bit of research, that’s fair. Some folk just walk in and buy a car right there with a minimum of haggling. That’s how much their time is worth to them, and I know a few people who are like this. I’m merely presenting an alternate approach. To me, it was worth the time to save more than a few thousands. On Buying a House For many people, a house is the largest purchase that they make in their lifetime. Many of you have already bought houses, so I won’t go into this in detail, but again, from The Millionaire Next Door – “If you’re not yet wealthy, but want to be someday, never purchase a home that requires a mortgage that is more than twice your household’s annual realized income.” I see a lot of you going “Shit” after reading that. On a Side Hustle I didn’t even have to write anything, u/red-sfpplus already wrote an excellent post on this topic - https://www.reddit.com/marriedredpill/comments/7i7x4q/the_financial_hustle/ Learn from his example. And then buy the man a drink. On What to Do First "Successful Investing takes time, discipline and patience. No matter how great the talent or effort, some things just take time: You can't produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant." - Warren Buffett First of all, take stock of where you are. Figure out your net worth, and what you have and what you owe (and interest rates). I would say the first thing to do is to have a three to six month emergency fund. This can be done in conjunction with getting rid of high interest debt (such as credit card debt), however if and when you have an emergency, you’re going to need to tap into something. Start your budgeting process. Know where your money is going. Fix it. Most people don’t even have a thousand dollars in savings. Don’t be like that. I would also note that the Personal Finance subreddit has this already diagrammed out in a flowchart in their wiki - https://i.imgur.com/lSoUQr2.png On Giving Back So you give back, right. Of course you do. But what I suggest is potentially setting up a charitable fund, so that you can maximize your charitable deduction annually. You can give a larger sum one year, and then less/none the following year – and maximize your deduction the first year. Something to consider. Plus then your charitable fund is invested, will grow with the market (remember you need a plan and asset allocation here as well), and the growth can be given to the charity as well, tax free. I’d recommend Vanguard, but really there are a number of places that do this. On Habits of Millionaires From the book The Millionaire Next Door, here are the characteristics of millionaires: • They live well below their means • They allocate their time, energy, and money efficiently, in ways conducive to building wealth. • They believe that financial independence is more important than displaying high social status • Their parents did not provide economic outpatient care. • Their adult children are economically self-sufficient. • They are proficient in targeting market opportunities. • They chose the right occupation. On Building Wealth You want to build wealth? Don’t have a high consumption lifestyle! Think for a moment. How much money do you think it takes to maintain an upper-middle class lifestyle vs. how much money do you think it takes to maintain a middle-class/blue collar lifestyle? Bespoke suits. Luxury cars. Bigger house. More property taxes. And so forth. Think of all the stuff you have to purchase to keep up with the Joneses. Cost of cleaning. Cost of buying furniture for that fancy house. Etc. “But Steel, I don’t care about the Joneses.” Sure you don’t. But your wife does. Watching that HGTV, picking out the stupid pillows that breed like rabbits in your house when you’re not looking. There’s something about a house that factors into the Female Social Matrix. Frugality is the name of the game. Frugal being “behavior characterized by or reflecting economy in the use of resources.” Don’t be wasteful. Don’t have a lifestyle marked by lavish spending and hyper consumption. You want to build wealth? Be frugal. Most people will not become wealthy in one generation if they are married to people who are wasteful. You can’t accumulate wealth if one of you is a hyperconsumer. On Offence vs. Defense So you’re not beta bucks, you’re BETA BUCKS! You make it rain! Good for you. You play great offence. But how’s your defense? How’s your wealth accumulation? Are you spending like there’s no tomorrow? If you want to win the game, you have to play great offence AND defense. Here’s some questions for you: • Do you operate on an annual budget? • Do you know how much you spend each year for food, clothing, and shelter? • Do you have a clearly defined set of daily, weekly, monthly, annual, and lifetime goals? • Do you spend a lot of time planning your financial future? To build wealth, minimize your realized (taxable) income, and maximize your unrealized income (wealth/capital appreciation without a cash flow). How do you become financially independent? You have to plan, and you have to sacrifice. You sacrifice today for financial independence tomorrow. On Your Wife & Buy-In As part of your plan and budgeting, once you have it all set, get buy-in from your wife. But do this not like you are seeking approval from mommy (aka you validation whore you), but matter of factly here is the plan, we are budgeting x amount for these areas. Here is our plan. Set out a vision. On Financial Vision Read it and weep - https://www.reddit.com/marriedredpill/comments/3fecgi/first_budget_discussion_leads_to_minor_meltdown/ctnya77/ “One rarely talked-about element of Married Game is a subtle thing known as Vision. Most husbands don’t appreciate what a strong DHV possessing Vision is, and they proceed unaware of the power it can add to their relationship. Most husbands do this because they don’t understand Vision, what it is and how it is manifested, much less the subtle but important role it holds. Let me explain: once upon a time I was working for a personnel agency, and one of my jobs was coaching our people on interviewing techniques. I learned a lot about the process as a result, from both the interviewer and the interviewee side. When it came to my clients who wanted high-quality employees with good technical skills – real talent – I learned the sorts of things that such high-demand technical people wanted in a company. Money, of course, and security and benefits. But beyond that gifted employees want to work for a company with a history, a good culture, and (most importantly) a Vision. What is Vision? In this context Vision is a manifested idea of the future. Everyone wants to work for a company that’s changing the world and is doing so in a positive, pro-active way. No one wants to work for the company that’s floundering, desperate just to meet its next quarter’s goals. Vision is a generally-stated plan-of-action toward a distant but achievable goal, presented in an enticing enough manner to inspire. It’s short on details and long on generalizations. It’s reflective of inner beliefs, values, and judgments, an indication of character, foresight, and initiative. It should be bold, meaningful, and challenging.” Now, this quote above is excellent. You need a vision for your life, but you also need a vision for your finances. What would your financial vision be? What does it look like to you? Create it, and then be ready to share that with your family. On Love of Money Remember folks, money itself is not the root of all evil. It’s the LOVE of money that causes the problem. When you are so driven to be a better beta bucks to get that coin, and start neglecting yourself, your relationships, etc… you’ve got problems. Money is just a tool in the toolbox. Use it, don’t let it use you. Don’t become a slave to money. Your life doesn’t consist of how many toys you have. And you can’t take it with you when you go. On Insurance, or Lack Thereof Would it surprise you to know that most people are underinsured? Make sure that you have enough of the key five types of insurance: health, car, homeowners/renters, life, and disability. Preparing yourself for these situations can save you a lot of pain in the future. Also, make sure you get enough umbrella insurance. Typically they say have enough umbrella insurance to cover your net worth, but I recommend getting a bit more. A quick note, practically, do not get whole life insurance. Get term insurance, and invest the difference in cost between whole life and term. You’ll be much better off. And yes, this is for 99.9% of situations. The remaining .1% of situations are when someone is really wealthy and there are estate and tax considerations. Aka for most of us, don’t worry about it. And take care of your health, so you don’t get fat when you are older and have related medical problems. Put. The. Fork. Down. On Assets and Liabilities, Rich Dad Poor Dad Edition A number of you have read Rich Dad Poor Dad, and there’s controversy in it. I disagree with a number of items in there, but there is an interesting point in there about how he views assets and liabilities: “You must know the difference between an asset and a liability, and buy assets. If you want to be rich, this is all you need to know. It is Rule No. 1. It is the only rule. This may sound absurdly simple, but most people have no idea how profound this rule is. Most people struggle financially because they do not know the difference between an asset and a liability.” He has a simple, non-accounting definition - “An asset is something that puts money in my pocket. A liability is something that takes money out of my pocket.” Buy assets. I like it. What is out there that you can buy that puts money in your pocket. Stocks. Bonds. Mutual Funds. Real Estate that produces Income. There are a ton of items. You should also think about getting rid of your liabilities… the giant boat, the private jet, the cluster B horrible sex-depriving wife (you know who you are)… you get the idea. On Disaster Recovery and Information Security What were to happen if you were to croak, or your only laptop with all your financial data was stolen or destroyed in a fire along with all your financial papers (see, you should have gotten that fireproof safe)? Would you have a plan on what to do? Would your spouse? Your kids? I would suggest making a backup of your finances, statements, tax returns, and other important papers, and put that on an encrypted USB key with a password that you and your wife knows, and then storing that someplace secure. Note that you can do fancy stuff like cloud storage, and so forth – but you need to have a plan for the worst case scenario. Additionally, make sure that you use two-factor authentication when you log into your banking accounts (if they have it), as well as don’t repeat your passwords for your financial accounts. I would even suggest having a separate secured email for your banking accounts, and another one for your personal accounts that get those damn spam emails all the time. Don’t be stupid with your financial accounts. Using the same password is stupid. Yeah, I’m talking to you. On Practical Advice Do get rid of high interest credit cards. If you’ve got a balance on your 29.99% APR credit card and are paying that interest every month, it’s in your best interest to eliminate that debt as soon as possible. You’re not going to get a 29.99% return in a month in the stock market (unless you take on excessive risk for that return, obviously). Try to transfer that balance to a promo 0% interest credit card, and work that down. Don’t borrow from your 401k. You’re cutting out your future returns. Don’t make that 401k loan your emergency fund, but rather have a separate emergency fund. Do use credit cards over debit cards, for a whole host of reasons (theft being the primary reason). Do pay yourself first. Take out at least 10% of your paycheck before it hits your checking account, and start saving. Don’t pay monthly or annual fees on checking accounts or savings accounts. You shouldn’t be paying a bank to store your money. They should be paying you for that privilege. Do get solid credit cards that give outstanding rewards. Do your research. Get at least 2% cash back if you can. Shoot for 5% or more. For example, Discover allows you to get 5% cash back in certain categories, and then you can redeem $20 for a $25 gift card to a number of different vendors. Looks like you just got a 6.25% return. There are plenty of other examples. Do you spend a boatload at Amazon? Get your 5% return. As an example – I get a 5% return on gas using a certain credit card. It’s unlimited throughout the year, and is redeemed as a statement credit, so I don’t have to worry about redemption. I have a certain Amex that I redeem at 4.6% points per dollar spent, plus a 2% general cash back card (some places don’t accept Amex). I could go even crazier, like getting the 3% on restaurants, or churning cards (and there are a lot of sites out there on how to churn successfully), but at some point, it’s not worth it. Do realize that credit cards make it easy to buy things that you don’t need. Recognize that part of yourself that wants to overspend. Ask yourself, do you need whatever it is you are buying. Would it hurt more if you paid in cash rather than credit. Buying with credit encourages you to buy more than you can afford. Do shop around for loans/services. I asked my bank what the best car loan they could give me – they said 2.99%. I asked my credit union, and they got me 1.49%. That’s a big difference in interest over the course of a loan. Generally due to how credit unions are structured (and their presence – mostly online), they will have better deals on certain loans than banks, depending on the product. Don’t delay saving for retirement. Generally, you’ll want to be saving 15% or more of your income for retirement early on. If you don’t save early, the harder it will be. Do try to simplify your finances. It makes it much more complicated if you chase after the best savings rate for your online bank, and then have many accounts all over the place. The 20 dollars that you get in interest is not worth the complexity and time (aka your most valuable resource) it takes to manage all that stuff. Don’t use your HELOC unless you have to. I have a large HELOC, but I don’t use it. But who knows when I need access to a large sum of money. And don’t use it in lieu of your emergency fund. You need both. Do some research into budgeting tools. There’s a lot of people on these threads that recommend YNAB. I personally haven’t used it, so I can’t recommend it one way or the other. I’m old school (and cheap thrifty – why would you pay for something if you can do it yourself). But definitely check those tools out – Mint, Personal Capital, YNAB, budgeting tools through your bank, etc. Also, if your credit card does an annual summary (like Amex does), make sure you look at it to get an idea on where you’re spending – it’s very helpful. On Tips for Saving Money There are a ton of ways you can save money. Go ahead and google “how can I save 1000”. Wait, I did that for you - https://www.google.com/search?q=how+can+I+save+1000 Take some time, call up your cell phone providecable provider and see what specials they have. There's a ton of things you can do to save money quickly. On Too Much Money Say you’re an ostrich farmer, and are flush with cash. You’re asking yourself, ok, so I’ve maxed out my 401k, I’ve maxed out my Traditional IRA and then backdoored it into a Roth IRA for tax diversification plus the benefits of a Roth. I’m contributing to a 529 plan for the kids. I looked into mega backdooring my Roth but darn it my employer doesn’t let me do that. I’m doing all of the tax advantaged things I can. I still have this extra 300k sitting around – what do I do with it?!? First world problems, amIrite. Again, this comes back to your plan. What’s the short term plan with this money. What’s the long term plan. What’s your risk tolerance. What assets can you invest in that fit in with your plan. You still have to manage your budget, even if you are a 1 percenter. On the Best Investment and Most Important Resource I’m a firm believer that the best investment is investing in yourself (and your family and kids), and your most important resource is not money, but time. Learn a skill. Go get a degree. Give your kids a head start. Help your wife accomplish a goal. Do what you can to save time. Money of course helps, but you know what happens when you teach a man to fish. On Happiness Is money linked to happiness? Yes, but only to a point - https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/nation-now/2018/02/26/does-money-equal-happiness-does-until-you-earn-much/374119002/ and https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2016/12/09/key-money-happiness-may-how-you-spend/94308848/ Honestly, at some point, money just becomes a scoreboard. Money will give you security. It will remove a stressor in your life. It will remove fighting and stress in your relationship (about money, fool). It will allow you to do many things. But eventually, money won’t give you happiness. You have to figure that one out yourself. And of course there’s the joke about “Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you a yacht big enough to pull up right alongside it.” – David Lee Roth. On Money and Attraction Money by itself will not make your wife’s panties wet. Keep that in mind. Having and getting money is basic adulting. Same with saving and managing it. You want to get her wet? Get in shape. Lift. Does money boost your status? Sure. Is status one of those areas that has some effect on where you are in the sexual marketplace? Sure. Pure physical attraction? No. Do you really think that making MORE money is going to have your wife give you more sex? Of course not - https://heartiste.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/money-wont-save-beta-males/ Get in shape. Be hawt. And fix your damn teeth so you can smile like you are a somebody. On a Brief Story So I was talking to a friend of mine, and I asked him how he and his wife set up the finances. He told me about this system, where his paycheck goes into his checking, his wife’s paycheck goes into his wife’s checking, and they have a joint savings account. Then he went into a convoluted description on how each of them pays certain bills, and how what he’s paying is not fair since he’s paying the mortgage AND property tax AND daycare, etc etc. I thought to myself, man, what a convoluted way to deal with stuff. They would then have multiple financial meetings, and discussion on who pays what, and all this extra stuff. It was just a lack of overall ownership going on. Just take care of the finances. Figure out a system that works for you. I’m not going to tell you which system is the best, because it’s all dependent on your unique circumstances (example: heavy spender SAHM vs saver career girl, you’ll need to put some deep restrictions on the heavy spender). But own it. On Who Owns the Finances You own the finances. Period. End stop. From the prior post on finances, it’s so important that I’m putting it here again: “At the core: Who do you want in charge of your financial future? The person interested in maintaining status quo and safety at all costs with your happiness and satisfaction a secondary or minor consideration? Or you? If you've learned anything here it's that you need to be a captain. Putting your wife in the family alpha role breeds contempt and most of the problems that brought your here. Besides control of sex, family MONEY decision veto power is the key indicator of who is wearing the pants.”
Afternoon, All. This is a continuation from the previous reddit post: Bitcoin Origins The following are a few notes I've been making on the original development of the tech behind Bitcoin. This is still in early draft form so expect the layout and flow to be cleaned up over time. Also be aware that the initial release of the Bitcoin white paper and code was what we had cut down to from earlier ideas. This means that some of the ideas below will not correspond to what would end up being made public. As I'm paraphrasing dim memories some of the sections are out-of-order whereby some things occurred earlier rather than later. As I recall more I'll be updating this story elsewhere for uploading when it appears more substantial. As noted on the first post ( link supplied above ): There is no verification of truth here. There is absolutely no evidential proof that I had any part in the project. Take this as just a fictional story if you wish. Bitcoin Logo BitCoin Origins Six Months In A Leaky Boat continued ... “You’re saying that we can use this proof-of-work thing to inject electronic cash into the network and have it tied to fiat currencies, but how would the network know what the local fiat currency is to figure out the correct fiat-currency-to-electronic-cash exchange rate ?”, (2) asked. “Maybe we could have a server that keeps a record of what the various electricity companies charge and have the software get the values from there ?”, I suggested. “Some of these new mobile phones, the smart phones, the cellular network phones in folks pockets, have GPS chips incorporated into them, right ? And everyone has them or will be getting them as they become more popular. This means everyone will have a device on them which will allow the software to include a GPS location so that the network knows which exchange rate to use for that particular minted cash. “But how will the network know that the GPS coordinates haven’t been changed and set to another location ?”, (2) asked. “Wouldn’t that mean relying on a trusted third party again ? I thought you said we have to get away from that ? If we cannot trust a single computer for minting cash into the network then maybe we shouldn’t trust any at all ?” “Uhh… dunno,” I replied. “I’ll get back to that later”, I said. “Ok, ” (2) said. “How are we going to have the transactions sent to other people on the network ? All the other white papers are expecting people to connect directly to one of the trusted computers to purchase the electronic cash and to transfer it to someone else through them. If we’re not going to use a trusted computer for this and will have the proof-of-work generate the cash, then how do people receive or pay the cash ? Also: How would the network trust that the cash is valid if no computer is being used for time-stamping and validating the cash ?” I told him I’d have to think about it. Multiple ideas were given and discarded. He consulted with (3) about every possible solution and every one was a failure. They either resulted in having to rely on at least one server to hook everything together or would break if multiple transaction messages were sent at the same time to different computers. After a week or so of this I’d finally burnt myself out and decided that it’s quite possible that everyone else was correct when they said that you couldn’t solve double-spending in a digital world without depending upon a trusted third party. I stopped emailing (2) at that point, hoping it’d all go away. After a week he emailed me asking if I’d come up with another solution for testing. I told him that I don’t think there is a solution and maybe he should just use part of what he had in his original white paper and rely on a trusted third party like everyone else. He said something along the lines of “Like [redacted] I will ! You’ve taken me down this path of not trusting a single computer and that’s what I want. No-one's done that before and if we break it, it will probably change everything ! ” I told him I’m taking a break from it all for a while. Another week passes and he emails me again. He said, “How are you feeling ? Sorry to be so harsh on you but I really need this to work. I’ll leave you be if that’s what you want. Just let me know when you’re able to continue.” Another week goes by and whenever I begin to think of the problem I just say to myself “To [redacted] with him and his electronic cash problem.” For comfort I turn to perusing through some of my old Win32 Asm proggys (I called them “proggys” because I thought of them as small, incomplete computer programs - kind of like examples and tutorials). I also begun reminiscing about the Amiga 500 days and the proggys I made back then (late 1980’s through to mid 1990’s). Knowing that one of the most difficult issues with electronic cash revolved around the networking architecture and how data would be propagated by the networked computers I began going through some of the discussions I had back in 2005 and 2006 with someone who was attempting to make a tank game. I explained to him the main difference between TCP and UDP ( Transmission Control ProtocolUser Datagram Protocol ). If you need data packages to arrive in a particular order with confirmation that they’ve arrived then you’d use TCP. If you need velocity of data packets you can throw all the protocol error checking out and use UDP. That’s one of the reasons great online multi-player games uses UDP. It reduces the latency with the data being transmitted around the network. The main difficulty is in building the gaming system in such a way so that the data the servers and clients transmit and receive work when data packets never arrive. TCP guarantees delivery if the network is functioning while with UDP you do not know if a particular packet ever arrived or if packets arrived in a different order to transmission due to separate packets traversing the internet via different pathways. Many online games were usually built for single-player first and the multi-player code would be chucked into the codebase near the end of development. This would mean that all of the game code objects and classes were made to use known values at any particular time and could not work in a UDP environment without re-architecting the entire code base from scratch. You’d find many of the games that also included multi-player gameplay options ended up using TCP for the network communications and this made all of these games slow over the network with high latency and unplayable lag as the gameplay would be faster than the network data packets telling your computer where your opponents are located. The various tanks games around 2005 were built as above. I convinced this person to focus on the multi-player aspect of the game because he could always add in single-player later on. Multiple players would have to drive and fire tanks around a field while being updated continuously about the complete state of the network. This is usually accomplished by having a single server that receives all of the current data from all the player clients and dishes out the official game state back to all of those player clients so that everyone knows who went where, who fired at what and who has been hit. However even with using UDP there is a bottleneck in the network with the server itself only being able to process a peak number of connections and data throughput every second. It could only scale so high. We had talked about different ways to improve this by possibly having relay servers on some of the players computers or having a more peer-to-peer like structure so that each player client only had to get the latest data from its nearest neighbours in the network and only transmit to their peers so that a fully server-less multi-player game could be created. How the data could be moved about without someone creating a hack that could change the data packages in their favour couldn’t be figured out. In the end he went with using a central server with both TCP and UDP depending upon what data packages were needed to be sent - general gameplay data (tank movements) via UDP and server state (for confirming who hit what) via TCP. If a peer-to-peer network was to be used for electronic cash then to be scalable the data packages must be able to be transmitted with as high a velocity as possible. It must work with the majority of transmissions using UDP. If two-way communication is required then a return ip/port can be included within a UDP data package or a TCP connection could be used. I had also read and reread this thing that has been going around the crypto community for ages called the Byzantine Generals Dilemma (or worded in a similar way). It’s supposed to be impossible to solve and at least a couple of well-known academics and crypto folks had “proven” it was impossible to solve only a few years previously. They had pretty much staked their reputations on the fact that it was unsolvable. I thought “Wouldn’t it be absolutely hilarious if the solution to this double-spending problem is also the solution to the impossible Byzantine Generals Dilemma and could be found using ideas from the Amiga days and 3D programming and uses multi-player gaming techniques ? That would annoy the [redacted] out of the crypto community and take those elitists down a peg or two !” (This is where you’d see the screen go all watery-wavy as the scene morphs to a time in the past when I was a moderator of the Win32 Asm community) The assembly community and the crypto community share a lot in common. They’re made up of some of the most brilliant folks in the computing industry where huge egos do battle against one-another. You’d also find folks in one community existing within the other. Both communities are made up of both light and dark actors. The light actors are those who are very public. They are academics, researchers, security professionals, and so on. The dark actors are … (and that’s all I’ll say about them). Except to say that the light crypto actors are usually doing work to undo what the dark assembly actors are doing. It’s one [redacted] of a game ! To have a message board that was able to accommodate all actors required a few tough rules and stiff execution of them if the forum was to continue to exist. Many of the other assembly boards were being snuffed out by government actors forcing the hosting service to shut them down. This was mainly due to the assembly forums insistence of allowing threads to exist which showed exactly how to break and crack various websites/ networks/ software/ etc. Whenever one of these sites were shut down the members would disperse to the various remaining assembly boards. So we received an influx of new members every few months whenever their previous venue went up in smoke. However they never learned from the experience ( or, at least, some of them never learned ) and they would continue to openly chat about dark subjects on our board, which put our board in danger as well. The moderators had to be strong but fair against these new-comers, especially knowing that they (the moderators) could be actively attacked (digitally) at any time. Occasionally one of these new members would decide to DDOS ( Distributed Denial Of Service ) us, however they apparently forgot what message board they were attempting to DDOS, and it always ended very badly for them. We would also occasionally get someone with quite a bit of knowledge in various subjects - some of it very rare and hard-to-come-by. It would be terrible if that member left and took their knowledge with them. They would complain that there were too many noobs asking questions on the message board and it would be better if there was a higher level of knowledge and experience needed before the noobs could enter the message board or post a question. Once I told one of these members, “Ok then. Let’s say that thing you’ve been talking about for the past two weeks, and calling everyone else a noob for not understanding it, is the knowledge limit. I know that you only first read about it two and a half weeks ago. Let’s say I make that the limit and predate it three weeks ago and kick your butt out of this community ?" “That’s not very fair”, he protested. I told him, “None of us know where the next genius is coming from. The main members of this community, the ones that input more than everyone else, have come from incredibly varied environments. Some with only a few weeks knowledge are adding more to the community every week compared to members who have been with us for years. One of the members you’ve dissed in the past couple of weeks could in turn create the next piece of software that all of us use. We don’t know that. What we need to do is have a community that is absolutely inclusive for every single person on the planet no matter where they’ve come from, what their wealth is, what their nation state does, and to keep our elitism in check.” “Ok, fair enough, I’m sorry, please don’t kick me out.” was the usual result. These were very intelligent folks, however they had to be reminded that we are a single species moving through time and space together as one. (This is where you’d see the screen go all watery-wavy as the scene morphs back to me figuring out this double-spending problem) As you may tell, I don’t tolerate elitist attitudes very well. Which also helped when I turned towards the elitist attitudes I read in some of these academic papers and crypto white papers ( some of which were more like notes than white papers ) and messages on the crypto forums and mailing lists. “ ‘It’s impossible to solve the Byzantine Generals Problem’ they say ? Let’s see about that !” Byzantine General’s Dilemma The problem is written a little bit differently depending upon where you read it. An occasional academic may be more well-read than others and becomes the “official” wording used by many others. I’ll paraphrase it a wee bit just so you get a general idea of the problem (pun intended). We go back to the time of the city-states. This is before the notion of sovereign states - there’s just a bunch of individual city-states that control the surrounding nearby country side. Every so often a bunch of these city-states would get together and form something called an empire. Alliances would change and friends would become enemies and enemies friends on a month-to-month and year-to-year basis. To expand the empire the bunch of city-states would send armies controlled by generals to take over an adjacent city-state. These city-states are huge (for their time) walled cities with armies in strong fortifications. Let’s say there are six generals from six empire city-states that surround an adjacent city-state - all generals and their armies are equidistant from each other. They cannot trust one another because at any moment one of them may become an enemy. Or they could be an enemy pretending to be a friend. Due to the defensive forces of the defending city-state, the six generals know that they could take the city if every one of them attacked at the same time from around the city. But if only a few attacked and the others retreated then the attackers would be wiped out and the surviving city-states, with their generals and their armies intact, would end up over-powering and enslaving their previous friendly city-states. No-one could trust any other. (This has massive parallels with modern day sovereign nations and their playing of the game with weapons, armies/air forces/navies, economics, currency, trade agreements, banks, education, health, wealth, and so on) The generals have to send a message to the other generals telling them if they’re going to attack or retreat. The problem is that a general could send a message to the general to his left saying that he’ll attack and send a second message to the general to his right that he will retreat. Some possible solutions said that there should be two lieutenants to receive the message from the general and that they could check each others message to confirm that they are indeed identical before passing the messages onto the left and right messengers. However the messengers in turn could change the message from “attack” to “retreat” or vice versa or not deliver the message at all. Plus the generals, once a message has been sent out as “attack” could turn around and retreat, or vice versa. I thought to myself, “I bet the folks who thought up this problem are feeling pretty damn smug about themselves.” However I was a moderator of an assembly community. I’d translated the DirectX8 C++ COM headers into their x86 assembly equivalent (using techniques built by others far more smarter than me, and with help for some files when DX8.1 was translated), built a PIC micro controller assembler in x86 assembly language, and many other things. And because I've done six impossible things this morning, why not round it off with creating a solution to the Byzantine Generals Dilemma ! Elitist ego ? What elitist ego ? They’re all amateurs ! Let us begin: “Ok,” I thought to myself. “let’s start at the beginning. We need a network. What does that look like ?” The Generals are going to be represented as computers. The servers in the network. The nodes. The messages are going to be the data travelling between them. Transactions will be used as the first example of data. For those reading, hold your hands in front of you - touch the bottom of the palms together with the fingers far apart, thumbs touching each other, twist your elbow and wrists so that the fingers are pointing upwards - slightly curved. Fingers as Nodes These are the nodes in the network. The node where the thumbs touch is your own node. No node can trust each other. For this network structure to work, it must work even with every single node actively hostile toward one another. “Surely the network can trust my node. I’m good ! “, you may say to yourself. But you would be wrong. This network is not about you. It must exist even when you don’t. If there were a hundred nodes then it’d be ninety-nine to one against you. As far as the network is concerned, there’s ninety-nine nodes that cannot trust you compared to your one. So accepting that all nodes cannot trust one another, plus they are actively hostile toward one another, we can … “But hang on ! ”, you say. “What do you mean ‘actively hostile’ ? Surely they’re not all hostile ? ” Even if most of the time nodes will play nice with one another, the rules of the game must be structured in such a way that they will work even if all participants were actively hostile toward one another . Because if it still worked with everyone having a go at each other then you would’ve built something that could last for a very long time. You could build something whereby sovereign nations could no-longer undermine other sovereign nations. It would be the great equaliser that would allow stronger nations to stop screwing around with weaker nations. It’s the ultimate golf handicapping system. Everyone could play this game. Kind of like my moderating style from the assembly days. So we have these hostile nodes. It has to be able to work with any type of message or data package. Initially it will be built for electronic cash transactions. I will type it as "messages (transactions)" below to indicate that the messages are the messages in the Byzantine Generals Dilemma and that the message could be any data whatsoever - "transactions" just being the first. Plus in a roundabout way a message is also a transaction whereby a transaction doesn't have to be only for electronic cash - it's just an indication of what items are being transacted. We want to send messages (transactions) between them and make sure everyone agrees that the messages (transactions) are correct. That implies that every single node would have to store an exact copy of all the messages (transactions) and be able to read through them and confirm that they are valid. And whenever a node receives a message (transaction) it would check it for validity and if it’s ok then that message (transaction) would be passed onto the adjacent nodes. But how to stop a node changing the message (transaction) contents and sending different results to two adjacent nodes ? How about taking the possibility of messages (transactions) being able to be changed out of the problem completely ? We could using private/public keys to sign the messages (transactions) so that they couldn’t be changed. The owner could sign a message (transaction) with the owners private key and everyone could check its validity with the owners public key, but not be able to change it. Right. The messaging ( transactions/ data/ etc ) part of the problem is partially solved. Now how do I solve the generals problem so that they all play nicely with one another ? If we can make sure all generals (nodes) can get the identical data and that they can all validate that the data is identical and unchanged then the Byzantine Generals Dilemma would be solved. Data Chunks It became apparent that every major node on a network would have to store an entire copy of all of the data so that they could verify that the data was correct and hadn’t been modified. The data would probably end up looking like a list or stack, with each incoming valid message (transaction) placed on top of the previous messages (transactions). What looks like a stack but hasn’t got the memory restrictions like a normal assembly stack ? When I was reminiscing about the Amiga 500 days I recalled having to muck about with IFF. That’s the Interchange File Format. The basics of it is like this: In a plain text file there are chunks of data. Each chunk of data begins with a chunk identifier - four characters that indicate to a program what type of data resides within that chunk (example “WAVE”, “FORM”, “NAME”). An IFF file can have many data chunks of differing types. The .AVI (audio/video), .ILBM (bitmap) and .WAV (audio wave) file formats are based upon the IFF. I thought, “What if one of these data chunks was called ‘MSG ’, ‘DATA’ or ‘TSTN’ (TranSacTioN) ? ” That might work. Where would the proof-of-work thing come into play ? Let’s say we replace the four-character-identifier with a header so that the proof-of-work can be done on it ? That means the header would now include an identifier for what type of data is included within the chunk, plus a value used to modify the difficulty for generating a hash (the number of zeros needed to prepend the generated hash), a random value which increments as hashes are attempted so that the header data is slightly different for each hash attempt, plus the data itself. But once a correct hash is generated, that particular node would mint electronic cash to pay for the electricity used. Remember: The electronic cash is supposed to cover the actual fiat currency costs involved in doing the proof-of-work computations. As the owner of the node computer is paid by an employer in fiat currency and has paid personal tax on it, and they have used that fiat currency to pay their electricity provider (which in turn pays company, state and value-added or goods&service taxes), then the electronic cash is equivalent to swapping your own money for a soft drink can from a vending machine. Except, due to the media of this system, you’d be able to go to another vending machine and reenter your soft drink can for a refund in fiat currency again ( minus a restocking fee ) and the vending machine could be anywhere on the planet. That means an extra message (transaction) would have to be included within the chunks data for the minted electronic cash. If there must be at least two messages (transactions) within a data chunk - the actual message (transaction) plus the message (transaction) for the node that generates the hash - then maybe there could be more messages (transactions) stored in each data chunk ? How would a bunch of messages (transactions) be stored inside a data chunk ? I remembered learning about binary space partitioning around 2006. BSP trees were used to store 3D graphic polygons that were able to be quickly traversed so that a game could decide which scenery to display to the game player. Quake 3 Arena and Medal of Honour: Allied Assault ( which uses Q3A codebase) used BSP trees for storing the scenery. Wherever the player was looking the tree would be traversed and only the polygons (triangles) that were viewable would be rendered by the graphics chip. Try to think of the players view in a game was like a searchlight beam and whatever the light touches is rendered onto a persons computer screen and everything else is ignored- unseen and not rendered. “I wonder if I could break the transactions up into a binary space partitioned tree ?” For those interested, a wee bit of light reading is here: Binary Space Partitioning A binary space partitioned tree begins at one polygon and uses its surface as a plane to cut throughout the rest of the scene. This kind of plane: Geometry Plane Each polygon the plane hits gets sliced in two. Note: The ‘node’ word used below is used for talking about the nodes in a BSP tree - not nodes in a computer network. Think of nodes as where an actual tree branch splits into two smaller branches. All the polygons in front of the plane go into the left branch (node) and all the polygons behind the plane go into the right branch (node). Traversing each branch (node) in turn, a polygon is chosen closest to the middle of the remaining branch (node) scenery and another plane slices the branch (node) in two. The traversal continues until the entire scenery has been sliced up into left/ right (or up/ down) branches (nodes) and they all end up at the leaves (nodes) which store the actual polygon geometry. If we use the messages (transactions) as the equivalent of the polygon geometry then we could have a bunch of messages (transactions) in the leaf nodes at the bottom of a tree-like structure inside a data chunk. Instead of a group of triangle vertices ( polygon geometry ) there would be a single message (transaction). But how to connect them all up ? A BSP tree is linked up by having a parent node pointing to the two child nodes, but that’s in memory. The BSP file that’s stored on a disc drive can be easily modified ( easy as in it’s possible instead of impossible ). The messages (transactions) within a chunk cannot be allowed to be changed. What if, instead of memory pointers or offsets pointing parents to children we use one of those crypto hashing functions ? The bottom-most leaf nodes could use data specifically from their message (transaction) to generate a node hash, right ? Parent Branch nodes could create a hash using the hashes of their two children hashes. This would create a tree-like structure within a data chunk where the topmost parent hash could be included within the data chunks proof-of-work header. This would allow all the messages (transactions) to be locked into a tree that doesn’t allow them to be modified because all parent node hashes would have to be recalculated and the trees root hash would be different from the original generated hash. And that would mean that the entire proof-of-work hash value would be changed. The same mechanism used to transfer the transaction data around the network would also be used to send the chunks of data. If a network node received a changed dataChunk and compared it with one they already held then they’d notice the proof-of-work is different and would know someone was attempting to modify the data. Bloody [redacted] ! I think this might actually work. I email (2) to inform him that I was again making progress on the issue. I explained the idea of having a simplified BSP tree to store the messages (transactions) into a dataChunk and have them all hashed together into a tree with the proof-of-work plus parent hash at the top. He said, “If I change the transaction stuff to use this method I’m going to have to throw out half my white paper and a third of my code”. “Well, “ I replied. “You can keep using your current transaction stuff if you want. It can never work in a no-trust environment but if that makes you happy then stay with it. For me - I’m going to take the red pill and continue down this path and see where it gets me. I’m also working on solving the Byzantine Generals Dilemma.” “Ok. ok”, he said. “I’ll go with what you’ve come up with. But what are you stuffing about with the Byzantine problem ? It’s an impossible crypto puzzle and has nothing to do with electronic cash.” “It has everything to do with an actual working electronic cash system”, I said. “If it can be solved then we could use a peer-to-peer network for transferring all the data about the place ! Kinda like Napster.” “Didn’t Napster get shut down because it used a central server ?”, (2) retorted. “What’s another peer-to-peer network ? IRC ? Tor ?, BitTorrent ?” “I think we can use IRC to hold the initial node addresses until such time the network is big enough for large permanent nodes to appear”, (2) suggested. (2) asked, “What’s to stop nodes from sending different dataChunks to other nodes ? If they’re just stacked on top of one-another then they can be swapped in and out at any time. That’s why a third party server is needed for setting the official time on the network for the transactions. Someone could create different transactions and change the time to whatever they want if they can use whatever time they choose.” I said I’ll think on it some more. A Kronos Stamp Server If a third party cannot be used for a time stamp server then we’d have to reevaluate what is meant by time in a computer network. What if how people think about time is actually wrong and everyone is assuming it to be something that it really isn’t ? If you hold one fist in front of you to represent time - call it ‘now’ time. Now Time If you hold another fist after the first fist you can call it ‘after now’ time. After Now Time If you hold another fist before the first fist you can call it ‘before now’ time. Before Now Time What we’re actually looking at is a chronological order stamp. The actual time itself is pretty much irrelevant except for when comparing two things in their chronological order. It should work whether the ‘now’ time is the time shown on your clock/watch right now, or on a date two hundred years from now, or 1253BC ( Tuesday ). The before/ now/ after can be adjusted accordingly: after ( Wednesday ) now ( 1253BC Tuesday ) before ( Monday ) And if the time value used is the time shown on your clock, is it the same as the time value shown on your watch ? On the microwave ? DVD player ? Computer ? Phone ? You may find that all the time pieces inside your own home vary by a few seconds or even a few minutes ! In an office almost every single person has a timepiece that has a different time to everyone else - even if it’s only different by a few milliseconds. Does that mean as you walk from your kitchen ( showing 2:02pm on the wall ) into the lounge ( showing 2:01 on the DVD player ) that’s you’ve just entered a time portal and been magically transported back in time by a minute ? Of course not. They’re all equally valid time values that humans have made up to be roughly synchronised with one-another. All that really matters is the range of valid time values used to indicate “This is Now”, “This is Next” or “This was Before”. If the network nodes all agree on what range of time values should be valid to be “now” or “near now” then each node could use its own time value in any data messages (transactions or dataChunks) and no third party timestamp server would be required. I email (2) and let him know the time-stamp server issue has been resolved by having the nodes use a Kronos-Stamp. “What the [redacted] is a ‘Kronos-Stamp’ ? ”, (2) asked. I give him the explanation I gave to you ( the Reader ) above. “But what’s this ‘Kronos’ word mean ?”, (2) asked. “It’s short for “Chronological Order. It’s a Chronological Order Stamp. We don’t need a Time-Stamp any more,” I replied. “But what’s with the ‘K’ ?” “To annoy all those folks who’d rather get furious about misspelt words than try and understand the concept that’s being explained. ” “Well, the crypto community won’t like it spelt like that. We’re going to have to call it a Time-Stamp server because that’s what they understand,” (2) said. I said, “Time-Stamps are for systems using third party servers. Chronological Order Stamps are for peer-to-peer networks.” “Ok,” (2) said. “We can use this time thing for making sure the dataChunks are in a chronological order but what stops someone from just changing the time of their computer to be a little earlier than someone else and having their version of the data accepted by everyone else?” I said I’ll think on it some more. A Chain of Data Chunks On another project I was rereading some information about rendering graphical data. In 3D graphics triangles are used to create any object you see onscreen. Example of Triangle types: Triangle Types Each numbered dot represents a vertex. The data for the vertices are placed into arrays called buffers. They’re just a long list of data points which are loaded onto a graphics card and told to be drawn. Triangle Strip A triangle strip is a strip of triangles which share the data points from the previous triangle. Each triangle in the strip is drawn alternating between clockwise/counter-clockwise (indicated by the red and green arrows) The very first triangle must have all of its vertices added (all three vertices 1,2,3) Every other triangle in the strip only has to add one more single vertex and reuse the previous two vertices. The second triangle just adds the data for the vertex (4) and reuses vertices 2 and 3 that’s already embedded inside the strip. This makes the strip incredibly compact in size for the data it’s meant to represent plus locks each triangle inside the strip and they cannot be accidentally used elsewhere. If a triangle was wanted to be drawn in a different order then an entirely new triangle strip would have to be created. A key side affect is that a triangle strip can be set to start drawing at any vertices (except vertices 2 and 3) and the entire strip from that data point onwards will be drawn. I was staring at this for a long time thinking “This could be used for the electronic cash project somehow, but how exactly ?” I kept going through the explanation for the triangle strip again and again trying to understand what I was seeing. Then it dawned on me. The triangles were the data in a triangle strip. The chunks were the data in the electronic cash project. If the triangles were actually the dataChunks then that means the vertices were the proof-of-work header, with the embedded root hash for the messages/ transactions. The lines in the triangle strip represented the reuse of previous vertex data. So that means I could reuse the proof-of-work hash from a previous dataChunk and embed that into the next proof-of-work as well ! And just like a triangle strip the dataChunks couldn’t be moved elsewhere unless all the surrounding proof-of-work hashes were redone again. It reinforces the Kronos Stamp by embedding the previous proof-of-work hash into it so we know what came before now and what was next after previous. If the entire network was using their cpu power to generate these proof-of-work hashes then a hostile actor would need half the processing power to get a fifty percent chance of generating the proof-of-work hash for a block and modifying the data. However every second block on average would be generated by an opposing hostile actor and so whatever the fifty percent hostile actor was attempting to do wouldn’t last for very long. DataChunk Chain I needed to have some of the math for this looked at to see if I was on the right track. I email (2) and let him know about this idea of hooking together the dataChunks like a chain so that they couldn’t be modified without redoing the proof-of-work hashing. He liked the idea of a chain. I said, “You see how all the appended dataChunk headers reuse the hash from the previous dataChunk header ? Take a look at the very first dataChunk.” “What’s so special about that” , (2) asks. “Well,” I say. “The first dataChunk header hasn’t got any previous hashes it can use, so in the beginning it will have to use a made up ‘previous hash’ in its header. In the beginning it has to use a manually create hash. In the beginning… get it?” “What ?”, (2) asks. “The very first data chunk is the Genesis dataChunk. In the beginning there is the Genesis dataChunk”, I reply. He said he likes that idea very much as he’d just started being involved in a church in the past year or so. I ask him to get the other cryptos he’s in contact with to play around with the numbers and see if this would work. (2) asked, “Hang on. How would this solve the double-spending problem ?” I'll stop this story here for now and post a follow-up depending upon its reception. I guess I've found reddit's posting character limit. 40,000 characters. There was going to be another 10,000 characters in this post however that will have to wait till next time. Bitcoin Origins - part 3 This is a continuation from the previous reddit post: Bitcoin Origins Cheers, Phil (Scronty) vu.hn
This is an open thread to discuss items of interest. I may also use it to drop thoughts as they occur to me as well -- something of a replacement of my former "tab closure" posts, as ... well, it seems tabs are simply running away from me. Consider this an experiment that's been mulling for some time. If you've got a question, observation, link, or anything else, feel free to post it, with a thought to the lair rules -- like house rules, but larrier. An evolving conversation....
The patient continued, “You understand that the many tests and the elusive information of the recent weeks remind me of Franz Kafka's words in his famous work Der Prozess, meaning both trial and process.” “The verdict does not come suddenly, proceedings continue until a verdict is reached gradually.”
I am looking for tools to make sense of HTML DOMs
On nuclear power and safety
There's an article making the rounds, poorly argued, IMO, extolling nuclear energy. I've been heartened by the critical response it's triggered at Hacker News, including my own contribution, previously submitted at G+ on Joerg Fliege's thread, drawing comparisons to the Banqiao Dam disaster of 1975. In part:
Proponents of nuclear power assume that we can assess risks with tails not of the decade or so of Banqiao, but of 100, 1,000, 1 million years. Utterly outside the scope of any human institutions, or of the human species itself. Our models of risks and of costs fail us.... The problems with nuclear power are massive, long-tailed, systemic and potentially existential. The same cannot be said of a wind farm or solar array. There is no significant 10,000 year threat from wind power, or solar power. We're not risking 30 - 60 km exclusion zones, on an unplanned basis, of which we've created at least four in the half-decade of significant nuclear energy applications: Hanford, Washington, Three Mile Island, Pennsyvania, Chernobyl, Ukraine, and Fukushima, Japan. And this is with a global plant of some 450 operating nuclear power plants as of 2017.... If the total experience has been, say, 500 reactors, over 50 years, or 25,000 reactor-years of experience, and we've experienced at least four major disasters, then our failure rate is 0.016%. The global share of nuclear power generation in 2012 was about 10%. Which means that without allowing for increased electrical consumption within existing or extending to developing nations, the plant count would have to increase tenfold. Holding the reactor-year failure rate constant would mean 80 core meltdowns per century. Reducing that to the present rate of four meltdowns/century would require reducing the failure rate to 0.0008%. That's five nines, if anyone's counting. Five nines on a process involving weather, politics, business, social upheaval, terrorism, sabotage, individual psychology, group psychology, climate, communications, response, preparedness....
David Gerard at the Financial Times on Bitcoin and Blockchain
David Gerard, author of Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain, interviewed by Izabella Kaminska about Bitcoin, /Buttcoin, and Tulips, among other topics. There's a bunch of great information in this podcast, of which I'll highlight two items in particular. I've been reflecting a great deal on information, truth, and that boundary between information and belief, most principally trust. Gerard nails the value proposition of trust, and a problem with the Free All the Things trope of decentralisation:
Decentralisation is the paramount feature in bitcoin, but it turns out that that's a bad idea that's really, really expensive, because it turns out that a tiny bit of trust saves you a fortune. "Decentralised" isn't a useful buzzword in a lot of ways, because it turns out that you want to be a part of society.
He also points at the invalidity of market capitalisation as a concept. It's an arithmetically inexpensive value to obtain (multiply total quantity by present price), but, especially in the thin markets typical of Bitcoin, it is essentially a fantasy value with no real meaning. From a conversation at The Other Place:
[C]rypto "market cap" is a meaningless number. Even on Bitcoin, the most popular one, about 100 BTC will clear the order book on any exchange. Crypto "market cap" is not a number you could realise, it's not how much money went into it, it's not anything useful. If you want to compare cryptos by interest, you'd need to measure daily trading volumes, which is a harder number to gather, and market cap doesn't turn out to be a good proxy for it. So billions of dollars in free money weren't actually just created - instead it's millions of tokens that may or may not be tradeable for ordinary bitcoins or for cash, if you don't go very fast at all.
This evokes my own explorations of cost, price, and value, and what exactly they mean. One analogy that Gerard, Alex Kudlick, and I are leaning toward is that of electric circuits. Price is analogous to pressure, or potential (voltage). Volume would be current. This raises the question of what resistance, capacitance, and impedance would have as analogues.... FT: Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain with David Gerard (Soundcloud: 65 minutes). Highly recommended. And you'll find Gerard on Reddit as dgerard.
Yonatan Zunger on the evolution of U.S. "court costs"
In "The history of “court costs”", Zunger writes of "a system that [you might think] has gone out of control, a mechanism that started with a good purpose that got eaten by corruption and incompetence. But you would be wrong."
In the post-Civil War South, a system came up when plantations, factories, or mines needed workers. It was based on that clever little exception in the 13th Amendment:
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Note that it doesn’t say what kind of crime you have to be convicted of.
The short of it: slavery is not illegal in the United States, just somewhat regulated. My own main commentary ... probably worth posting in its own right, is that whilst Zunger raises excellent points about the intentionality of this system and its antecedents to Nazi Germany's concentration camps, the fact is that none of these phenomena are particularly American, nor particularly new. This isn't to excuse the United States of its guilt. Rather: these behaviours, systems, and dynamics seem to be deeply rooted. Whether they're merely cultural (the examples I've given are all from cultural antecedants or siblings to US tradition), part of human behavioral psychology, or deeper even than that, this is not simply a matter of bad laws and bad people. Rather: It is a case of such rules and dynamics actively succeeding and crowding out alternatives. There are two good discussions at The Other Place from the original Tootstorm and from the Medium essay.
When your political opponents are made of money ...
In politics, a growing problem is the dominance of interests who apparently have nothing but money to throw at problems Utilising this fact in judo fashion, the thought occurs that that one possible response is to create a vast wall of problems for which they find it necessary to throw money at. The less ease with which to discern between actual problems and fantasmic simaculra of problems, so much the better. Have fun storming the castle!
Bill Browder: "It turned out that in Putin's Russia, there are no good guys."
In what one senator called one of the Senate Judiciary Committee's "most important" hearings, [William] Browder, a wealthy businessman-turned-activist-turned Putin-adversary shed a chilling new light on a Russian system of government that operates ruthlessly in the shadows — as Browder described it for lawmakers: a "kleptocracy" sustained by corruption, blackmail, torture and murder with Putin at its center. "Effectively the moment that you enter into their world," Browder told senators investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, "you become theirs."
Oh, and "Russian adoptions" are one of the dog whistles for the Magnitsky Act, legislation passed in the U.S. in 2012, named after Browder's now-murdered Russian lawyer, Sergei Magnitski, imposing sanctions on human-rights violators. Also the topic of a certain July, 2016 meeting featuring Donald Trump, Jr., and senior members of the Trump campaign, of recent memory.
The distinction isn't "online vs. offline" but "direct vs. mediated"
Articles and books on the impacts of digital and mobile media are a dime a dozen, and may be as laughable, or prophetic, as previous gerimiads on new media. "Has the Smartphone Destroyed a Generation" is fairly typical of the genre, if better than most. Reading it, a thought recurs to me: the distinction isn't of online vs. offline, but or even screen time, but of mediated vs. direct experience. Mediamediates. It is literally that which is between the observer and the observed. And with increasingly smart media, those exchanges are very directly mediated, interposed, by third (and fourth, and fifth, and ...) parties. This has multiple effects, a few:
Direct is present, mediated is (often) remote.
Direct is strongly causaul and deterministics, mediated is fuzzy, indistinct, and often capricious, failing in unanticipated, or inconsistent, ways.
Direct is filtered by location, mediated is filtered by selection -- your's or another's.
Direct is attentive, mediated is amplified.
I'd argue there are degrees of mediation as well. Analogue devices such as the telephone are less mediated than digital feeds such as Facebook or YouTube. And this isn't the first period to have such experiences. I have frequent cause to point out that intellectual, academic, and creative experiences were very often epistolary, exchanges of letters. Though generally with less rapidity than today's 'round-the-world-in-a-second emails. But that whole "online" and "cyberspace" distinction? Lose it.
The etymology of "data" ... peculiarly uninformative
I'm rather the fan of looking at etymologies of words. They often reveal interesting origins, connections, or evolutions. The etymology of data would be a peculiar exception:
1640s, classical plural of datum, from Latin datum "(thing) given," neuter past participle of dare "to give" (from PIE root *do- "to give"). Meaning "transmittable and storable computer information" first recorded 1946. Data processing is from 1954.
a collection of facts, observations, or other information related to a particular question or problem; as, the historical data show that the budget deficit is only a small factor in determining interest rates.
Which raises the question of whether data is the collection of facts, or the symbolic or other representation of those facts. Arising as discovered that there is a philosophy of data and I've encountered its philosopher, Brian Ballsun-Stanton (via Mastodon).
Amathia: Unteachably stupid
There are a few concepts on the harm or danger of stupidity. In "One Crucial Word", Massimo Pigliucci explores the Greek term Amathia:
Amathia. It is often translated as “ignorance,” as in the following two famous quotes from Socrates: “Wisdom alone, is the good for man, ignorance the only evil” (Euthydemus 281d) “There is, he said, only one good, that is, knowledge, and only one evil, that is, ignorance” (in Diogenes Laertius, II.31) But just as in the case of other ancient Greek words (like “eudaimonia,” about which I will write later this week) the common translation hardly does the job, and indeed often leads people to misunderstand the concept and quickly dismiss it as “obviously” false, or even incoherent....
Stupidity is a more dangerous enemy of the good than malice. One may protest against evil; it can be exposed and, if need be, prevented by use of force. Evil always carries within itself the germ of its own subversion in that it leaves behind in human beings at least a sense of unease. Against stupidity we are defenseless. Neither protests nor the use of force accomplish anything here; reasons fall on deaf ears; facts that contradict one’s prejudgment simply need not be believed- in such moments the stupid person even becomes critical – and when facts are irrefutable they are just pushed aside as inconsequential, as incidental. In all this the stupid person, in contrast to the malicious one, is utterly self-satisfied and, being easily irritated, becomes dangerous by going on the attack. For that reason, greater caution is called for than with a malicious one. Never again will we try to persuade the stupid person with reasons, for it is senseless and dangerous....
Read through to the source for the full quote. I've dug a bit deeper into the backstory. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a contemporary and friend of Reinhold Neibur, of "Serenity Prayer" fame. He served in the Abwehr, the Nazi intelligence service, during WWII, headed by Wilhelm Canaris. Bonhoeffer and Caneris were executed by the Nazi regime on 9 April, 1945, only three weeks before the fall of Berlin and Hitler's own death. And it turns out that the Abwehr, centre of relatively unfiltered information during the regime, was an active centre of resistance to it, from within. Bonhoeffer was one of eight children. A brother, and the husbands of two of his sisters, were also executed by the Nazi regime. Bonhoeffer's twin sister Sabine survived until 1999. Strongly related to the previous item on amathia, and observations from Hanah Arendt.
The Edge Question, 2017
"What Scientific Term or Concept Ought to be More Widely Known?" I find The Edge to be a bit hit-or-miss, and there are some misses here. But there's a heck of a lot of hits on topics that have been floating through my brain-space, and a few names I've been following as well. David Christian ("Big History"), confirmation bias, motivated reasoning, networks, information pathology, ... Daily Nous has a promising list as well. I've got the essays lined up to ... hopefully, read. And this note as a reminder to do that.
There seems to be no little need that the whole doctrine of non-interference with foreign nations should be reconsidered, if it can be said to have as yet been considered as a really moral question at all... To go to war for an idea, if the war is aggressive, not defensive, is as criminal as to go to war for territory or revenue; for it is as little justifiable to force our ideas on other people, as to compel them to submit to our will in any other respect. But there assuredly are cases in which it is allowable to go to war, without having been ourselves attacked, or threatened with attack; and it is very important that nations should make up their minds in time, as to what these cases are... To suppose that the same international customs, and the same rules of international morality, can obtain between one civilized nation and another, and between civilized nations and barbarians, is a grave error...
Oil is other people's money
I was thinking through the history of the Indiana natural gas boom -- oh, yeah, what Indiana gas boom, you ask? ThisIndiana gas boom, lasting from about 1884 to 1903. Basically, people realised you could stick a pipe in the ground and burn what came out. Which people did. As free-standing, natural-wonder flambeaux -- flaming torches, visible for miles around. After all, such a God-given abundance would surely last forever, right? The field burned out, literally, in two decades. But why waste that resource? I'm thinking of a typical Analyst's Matrix, describing spending your own, vs. other people's money. Let's do that in a table:
Someone else's money
High quality / Low cost
High quality / Cost irrelevant
Somebody else's use
Quality irrelevant / Low cost
Quality irrelevant / Cost irrelevant
When it comes to natural gas, or oil, or coal, the majority of the cost, that is, its initial formation is not borne by you. Only the extraction cost is. That un-borne fraction is effectively other people's money. You care about the quality of the use (its use value), but not the full formation cost. Oil, coal, and gas, are other people's money. The legacy of the Indiana boom lives on in a few ways. Ball Glass Company originally formed in the state to take advantage of cheap gas for glass blowing, as did numerous other manufacturing concerns. They eventually shifted to coal. And you'll find the word flambeau turning up in place-names and the odd company name to. Relics to other people's money.
Limitations on Free Speech -- revisiting "shouting 'No Fire!' in a theatre that is in fact on fire"
The dynamics since the American Fascists riots in Charlottesville, VA, and the ACLU reconsidering its position on free speech reminds me that I had started, quite uncomfortably, revisiting my own views on this about three years ago. "Shouting "No Fire" in a Warming World as a Clear and Present Danger" was my thinking at the time. Further developments -- Charlie Hebdo attacks, "punching vs. punching down", questions over revisionist history, the amazingly good two-part YouTube set by Contrapoints: "Does the Left Hate Free Speech? (Part 1)" (video: 16:53) and "Does the Left Hate Free Speech? (Part 2)" (video: 17:46) (I'm surprised I hadn't already mentioned it), various research (Jill Gordon, "John Stuart Mill and 'The Marketplace of Ideas'" and Jill Lepore (Kansas City Public Library lecture) both address parts of this. Karl Popper's "Paradox of Tolerance". Many, many discussions, mostly on G+. The history of free expression / free speech itself is interesting and surprising, particularly the role between Protestant and Catholic factions -- the latter being seen much the same way as Fascists are today, as constitutionally opposed to tolerance, and therefore not subject to the benefits of free speech themselves.
Jeff Schmidt on salaried professionals and the soul-battering system that shapes their lives
This book explains the social agenda of the process of professional training. Disciplined Minds shows how it is used to promote orthodoxy by detecting and weeding out dissident candidates and by exerting pressure on the rest to obey their instructors and abandon personal agendas such as social reform -- so that they, in turn, can perpetuate the system by squeezing the life out of the next generation.
So no, Sonos! Palindromic boycott of privacy-skewering IoT ToS change
Wireless, cloud-connected speaker manufacturer Sonos have retroactively changed terms of serviceand required existing product ownersmonitoring subjects accept the new terms or the devices will cease to function. And this, boys and girls, is why you don't buy Sonos products, ever. (Or any Internet of Things that Spy On You devices.) Palindrome courtesey Sakari Maaranen.
Alexander Hamilton Church and cost accounting: Capital-Labour analysis
Alexander Hamilton Church (28 May 1866 – 11 February 1936) was an English efficiency engineer, accountant and writer on accountancy and management, known for his seminal work of management and cost accounting. In particular, it was his work which expanded the concept of factors of production from just labour to include capital and other inputs. Among his works, Production factors in cost accounting and works management (1910), from whose introduction:
From the earliest days of manufacturing there has grown up a custom of considering labor as the main and only direct item in production, and of expressing all other expenditure in more or less vague percentages of wage cost. The fact is, however, that labor, while always important, tends to become less important relatively to other items as the progress of organized manufacture develops and the use of specialized and expensive mechanical equipment increases. Very few concerns have come to grief by ignoring labor costs, but many have passed into the hands of receivers by ignoring the relative imiportance of the other factors of production.
On social media and online tools as "optional": Facebook required for AirBnB
Via The Guardian, "I didn’t have enough Facebook friends to prove to Airbnb I was real": At the other end of the Airbnb helpline in Colorado, “Casey” sounded incredulous. “You have how many Facebook friends?” she drawled. “Er … about 50,” I replied. Long pause. “Well, you don’t have enough for us to verify you. You’d need at least 100.” “But”, I squeaked, “I post every now and again … I’m on Facebook most days to check on my friends and relations.” This, however, was not enough to convince Airbnb I existed. And, as I didn’t exist, I could not book a room. Keep this in mind next time someone declares "nobody forces you to use Facebook". Despite the many other refutations of this trope, we can now respond unequivocally: "AirBnB do".
Milestones: the 900 club
Just to memorialise this, and to bury the item as I close out this thread: the Dreddit has crossed the 900 subscriber threshold for the first time. Thanks to all, again, I will strive to be worth your time. It's interesting how much I prefer not to note such things, and yet do in fact note them. The days of teetering just on the edge in particular.
Do you like what you're reading here? Would you like to see a broader discussion? Do you think there are ideas which should be shared more broadly? The Lair isn't a numbers game, my real goal is quality -- reaching, and hopefully interacting with, an intelligent online community. Something which I've found, in several decades of online interactions, difficult to achieve. But there's something which works surprisingly well: word of mouth. Shares, by others, to appropriate venues, have generated the best interactions. I do some of that, but I could use your help as well. So: if you see something that strikes you as particularly cogent (or, perhaps, insipid), please share it. To another subreddit. To Twitter or Facebook or G+. To the small-but-high-quality Metafilter. To your blogging circle, or a mailing list. If you work in technology, or policy, or economics, there as well. Thanks, Morbius.
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