- I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
- I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I'd stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish that I'd let myself be happier.
We're all hedonists at heart. What's your pleasure?
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Surprise, surprise, Gillette. You don't get support from a group by nagging and browbeating them. (Actually, who's surprised by the backlash to the Gillette ad, except echo-chamber-dwelling ideologues?)
I have a son. I don't instill good character in him by telling him he's intrinsically flawed. I instill good character in him by showing him the way in which he should go. (This also keeps me on my toes, doesn't it?)
If you haven't seen the Gillette ad that's got men and women turned off, you can google it. Or don't. It's just more ho-hum man-bashing.
O God our Help in ages past,
Thou and thou alone seest into the heart of man.
Thou and thou alone knowest of our pride as we look down upon the multitude of cars in their unceasing gridlock, as we ourselves soar through the skies in our trains of mass transit, arriving at our destinations in mere moments; for what is a half hour as one considers the hours that befall those unfortunate enough to ride in road-bound vehicles at such times like these, times that try the sons of men with the hour of rush?
Thou and thou alone know the wickedness that abides in the hearts of men. Remove this haughtiness as far as the elevated electric rail is from the toll highway.
(King James Version of "So long, suckas!")
If people are fundamentally non-rational, then it is fundamentally rational to relate with them in a fundamentally non-rational manner.
In the past, Ethereum ETH rolled back its blockchain to erase an event where millions of dollars worth of ETH were stolen. This was done with the approval of Ethereum's founder and most of its community.
A minority, however, refused to roll back the blockchain on the principle that blockchains are supposed to be immutable. This group retained the original blockchain, which records the theft incident. This blockchain is now known as Ethereum Classic, ETC.
By forking off the original blockchain and rolling the record back to before the theft incident, the theives ended up with ETC instead of ETH. ETC is worth a fraction of ETH.
So, the thieves ended up with a new coin that's worth a fraction of the price at which they stole the old coin. But wait - is ETC the new coin? Or is ETH the new coin? Which came first?
- ETH is a hard fork of the original Ethereum blockchain, with the support of a majority, including the founder.
- ETC is the original Ethereum blockchain, with the support of a minority.
So, which is the "real Ethereum"?
One could argue, both are.
- Present-day bitcoin BTC is a hard fork of the original bitcoin blockchain, with the support of the majority.
- Bitcoin cash BCH is a hard fork of the original bitcoin blockchain, with the support of the minority. (Bitcoin cash recently further hard forked into bitcoin cash ABC and bitcoin cash SV. The dust hasn't settled yet.)
Which is the "real bitcoin"?
Likewise, both. (Or, all.)
If you have a saltwater crocodile and a freshwater crocodile, which one is the "real crocodile"?
They both are, of course. One is simply more prevalent.
Only a man in a crocodile suit is not a "real crocodile."
What I'm saying is, think objectively. Avoid false dichotomies. The human mind tends toward dualities of absolutes. One has to be evil and one has to be good.
This is not the case. Good and evil always exist in both camps, to varying degrees.
Back to our crocodiles: Which is evil and which is good? The freshwater or saltwater variety?
Neither are good or evil. They both simply exist.
But if one ate your poodle, it wouldn't matter if it were the saltwater or freshwater variety. It would be a bad croc.
Try not to think in terms of absolutes, but in terms of appropriateness to the need at hand.
So it is with crocodiles and poodles, so it is with bitcoin and altcoins.
Extremism is extremism.
Moderate extremism is extremism.
Extreme moderation is extremism.
Extremism is extremism.
They say that the US dollar price is artificially propped up by the fact that nations have to buy US dollars to buy oil.
Well, people have to buy bitcoin BTC to buy most other cryptocurrencies. Doesn't that artificially boost the BTC price?
What happens when more and more altcoins establish their own crypto-fiat pairings, like electroneum just announced, for example? (Starting this month, you can buy electroneum directly with euro and the Turkish lira.)
What happens to bitcoin's price when most cryptos can be bought without first having to buy bitcoin, and we're left with a bitcoin that's simply slow to transact with, and expensive to send?
Will the emperor be found naked?
If so, then the current cadre of bitcoin developers will be the fraudulent weavers of the magic invisible cloth that left the emperor naked.
Already, there are voices calling out that the emperor is naked, and those voices are denounced as childish. Well, it was a child, in the story, who first dared to say that the emperor was simply naked, not clothed in magic cloth.
Look at the facts. Bitcoin BTC was unnecessarily crippled by the developers' refusal to increase the block size to accommodate increasing transactions, forcing bitcoin to its knees last year, a victim of its own success. Network congestion caused transaction fees almost to a high of 50 USD, making any transaction below that price impossible, while the BTC blockchain choked on full blocks capped at a measly 1 megabyte each. 1 MB. That's less than a floppy disk could hold. Remember floppy disks, old guys?
Meanwhile, bitcoin cash BCH broke away and did the "childish and immature" thing of simply increasing the block size to accommodate rising transaction volume.
BCH transactions are now instant and cost less than a penny in USD. BTC transactions currently take up to an hour and cost more than ten cents in USD.
How did bitcoin BTC become such a great "store of value"? Because of its immutable record stored on its blockchain. Its limited supply of 21 million bitcoins. Its use as a universal medium of exchange.
The current cadre of BTC developers is obsessed with second-layer solutions to take transactions off the BTC blockchain, making it less relevant. They've successfully crippled BTC to the extent that you can't use it for small payments. (Can your restaurant wait an hour for your dinner payment to clear?) So, already, two of the three big things that made BTC big, have been crippled.
Why are the powers that be in bitcoin development doing these seemingly stupid things? Asking these questions return ugly answers, to me. Something is rotten in the state of BTC.
Don't put all your eggs in one BTC basket.
That being said, it's not easy to kill BTC. It's very resilient.
(Though, to kill it might be unnecessary. Crippling might be sufficient for the dark forces' nefarious purposes.)
Tread boldly but wisely. These are exciting times we're living in.
Step in with both eyes and ears wide open. But step in. Not to step in is like ignoring the World Wide Web in 1997.
There's a trend to write new choruses to go with verses of hymns that are hundreds of years old.
Sometimes it works.
Sometimes it's the aural version of putting lipstick on the Mona Lisa.
In times of crisis, it's: "Women and children first!"
After successful execution of that, it's: "Every man for himself!"
Wait. What about weak men? When do they get their turn?
Ah, such is the nature of things.
There is no space for weak men in the order of things, is there? Not in times of crisis, anyway.
It follows, then, that a primary task in times of peace is to get strong and ready.
For most cryptocurrencies, you must first buy bitcoin to trade with. This is akin to having to buy US dollars to buy oil, in my mind. Like oil props up USD, I wonder how much other cryptocurrencies prop up BTC.
Like I wonder what will happen to USD when people can buy oil with other currencies, I wonder what will happen to BTC when people can buy cryptocurrencies with other currencies.
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Fear is a neutral emotion, like anger is a neutral emotion.
Cowardice, however, is a choice related to fear. As rage is a choice related to anger.
Similarly, gratitude is a choice related to happiness.
I wonder what choices I shall make today.
What will you choose today?
Just a year on, and the questions in this video seem terribly naive. (I don't think the interviewer was actually naive, but playing devil's advocate, as a responsible journalist.)
For anyone wanting to learn about how cryptocurrency will change the world, though, this is still a great starting point:
This site does a fantastic job of visualising bitcoin (BTC) transactions and how they get onto the blockchain: https://txstreet.com
It does the same for bitcoin cash (BCH), a breakaway cryptocurrency that claims that the original bitcoin vision has been hijacked and claims to represent that vision more closely.
Just take a look at the visualisation.
I don't know about you, but it makes me sad about what they've done to bitcoin BTC. And it makes me glad for innovation and freedom of choice.
Oh, BTW, no one said you had to choose BTC or BCH.
Why not both?
Today, I was scrolling through Netflix, looking for something to watch. Scroll, meh. Scroll, meh. Scroll, meh. Scroll - Wait, is that The Book of Life?
I caught it randomly with the family, four years ago, and found it magical. Quite mind-expanding, mystical and inspiring.
So, I pressed Play, and the opening scene rolled on. A bunch of school kids were visiting a museum, and the tour guide was telling them, Today is a very special day in Mexico. Today is the Second of November, the Day of the Dead...
I looked at the corner of my laptop screen.
The Day of the Dead.
Of course, I gleefully watched the movie as I waited for the wife and son to arrive at the office to meet me.
And they arrived right after the guy finished singing to the bull; the pivotal and high point of the movie to me.
Coincidence? Or is it a "special day, special screening" kind of thing?
Do you ever feel like somebody's looking out for you?
The cure for fake news is real news, not less news.
The cure for bad speech is more speech, not less speech.
The cure for misinformation is more information, not less information.
Nature abhors a vacuum. You cannot unthink a thought.
You cannot choose not to think of a pink elephant.
You have to think of a pink elephant with grey stripes.
Now paint it with another row of grey stripes.
Now you have a grey elephant once again.
The censors, the book-burners, are always on the wrong side of history.
Don't line up with the wrong side.
Statement from Gab:
Gab has spent the past 48 hours proudly working with the DOJ and FBI to bring justice to an alleged terrorist. Because of the data we provided, they now have plenty of evidence for their case. In the midst of this Gab has been no-platformed by essential internet infrastructure providers at every level. We are the most censored, smeared, and no-platformed startup in history, which means we are a threat to the media and to the Silicon Valley Oligarchy.
Gab isn’t going anywhere.
It doesn’t matter what you write. It doesn’t matter what the sophist talking heads say on TV. It doesn’t matter what verified nobodies say on Twitter. We have plenty of options, resources, and support. We will exercise every possible avenue to keep Gab online and defend free speech and individual liberty for all people.
You have all just made Gab a nationally recognized brand as the home of free speech online at a time when Silicon Valley is stifling political speech they disagree with to interfere in a US election.
The internet is not reality. TV is not reality. 80% of normal everyday people agree with Gab and support free expression and liberty. The online outrage mob and mainstream media spin machine are the minority opinion. People are waking up, so please keep pointing the finger at a social network instead of pointing the finger at the alleged shooter who holds sole responsibility for his actions.
No-platform us all you want. Ban us all you want. Smear us all you want.
You can’t stop an idea.
As we transition to a new hosting provider Gab will be inaccessible for a period of time. We are working around the clock to get Gab.com back online. Thank you and remember to speak freely.
Andrew Torba, CEO Gab.com
The propensity to justify oneself, to explain things away, is primal.
Like an instinct.
Self-preservation on an ego level.
I watched this video that pointed out the total value of equity in the world is $1.5 quadrillion (rounded). That's 1,500,000,000,000,000 US dollars.
There are seven billion people on earth (rounded). That's 7,000,000,000 people.
So, what's your "fair share" of the dollars in the world?
That's about two hundred thousand US dollars (rounded).
That's what you should hold in equity, if you were "average": about $200,000.
(By the way, 1,500,000,000,000,000 is such an unfathomable number, it wouldn't fit in my calculator. I had to divide 1,500,000,000,000 by 7,000,000 instead.)
Think about it.
Sunday School is G-rated.
Sunday church services are PG-13.
Public life is R-rated.
Private life can be X-rated.
Know what to expect. You aren't going to get enough for real life from a Sunday service. (From overarching church life, possibly.)
Just showing up on Sunday mornings is not enough. Nobody is going to tell you enough of the truth to handle real life just on Sunday mornings.
I mentioned the duck, the other day. Now I want to talk about the lion.
The duck is DuckDuckGo, an alternative search engine that doesn't track you and doesn't spoonfeed you.
When you search on Google, Google tracks and analyses everything you say, to create a profile of you - a virtual you that lives inside its artificial intelligence.
This virtual you is used by Google and their partners to sell stuff to you. First, they sell your virtual you, then they sell stuff to you by using the virtual you. What other uses will they have for the virtual you in the future?
And it's not just what you type into the Google search box, either. It's everything you say into Google Now. It's every email you send and receive in Gmail. It's every video you watch and every comment you write on YouTube. It's everywhere you travel with Google Maps (and Waze, I would presume). You get the idea.
Anecdotal accounts of people getting served with ads for stuff they talked about only in offline conversations have also made their way around the net. Your phone is listening to you, in other words. (The tech giants deny this and it is yet to be proven.)
Google also spoonfeeds you search results that it thinks you are most likely to click on, based on the virtual you. So you keep seeing entertainment, shopping and political values that mirror and amplify your own. You don't get an unbiased picture of the world, but you get what Google thinks you should see.
Why were so many people surprised by the 2016 US presidential election results, for example? Because Google and other big media presented a representation of reality that was not in tune with the true reality on the ground. If you keep searching only on Google, you're getting an increasingly skewed representation of reality. This does not aid good decision-making.
DuckDuckGo aims to solve these search problems by:
- Not tracking you, and
- Showing you unfiltered results.
The duck takes the virtual you out of the equation and serves up search results based on the search words you use - not according to an eerily detailed psychological profile of you in an AI database somewhere.
That's the duck. What's the lion?
The lion is Brave, a new web browser that takes the privacy ball and runs further with it.
Where DuckDuckGo seeks to repair search, Brave seeks to repair all of browsing. The duck blocks the spooks from stalking you as you search. The lion stops the spooks from following you as you browse all of the web.
"The new Brave browser blocks the ads and trackers that slow you down, chew up your bandwidth, and invade your privacy. Brave even lets you contribute to your favorite creators automatically." - brave.com*
Brave blocks all ads and trackers, resulting in a page load time that's two to eight times faster on popular news sites, for example.
Beyond the time savings, though, it's saving you from having a virtual you imprisoned in Google's AI.
And while it blocks ads, Brave has a blockchain payment system that can automatically reward the creators whose videos and words you consume, with cryptocurrency micropayments. Brave runs on the Basic Attention Token (BAT), a token that uses the Ethereum blockchain - the second biggest gorilla of crypto.
Technicalities aside, what it means is that the more media you consume, the more that media creator will receive micropayments of internet money.
What's more, Brave is based on Chromium, the same open source browser that Google Chrome is based on. So, virtually all the extensions that you use with Chrome will work on Brave without a hitch. (That's been my experience so far.)
It's time for a Brave new browser.*
*Download Brave from this special link and I'll get some BAT. To begrudge me of this BAT, use this plain link: brave.com
As I finished my fried whole-fish today and looked at its bones, a thought occured to me:
What if the meat of a fish is actually an underwater encounter-suit for a centipede?