Published on Feb 13, 2014 – http://youtu.be/zEQ2nPSL5-0
Bitcoin Tips: 1Bu6CHFzHwv522pBLQoBgDAaf2C7hvXxGo
Litecoin Tips: LLHeNqNAFeJeXmxyFLNqYRkfk6dcQH8bub
Email questions/comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cover Photo by Jim McGuire, Nashville, TN
Ode To Satoshi
Well Satoshi Nakamoto that’s a name I love to say
And we don’t know much about him, but he came to save the day
When he wrote about the way things are
and the way things ought to be
He gave us all a protocol this world had never seen
Oh Bitcoin as you’re going into the old Blockchain
Oh Bitcoin I know you’re going to reign, gonna reign
Till everybody knows, everybody knows,
till everybody knows your name
Down the road it will be told about the Death of Old MtGox
About traitors trading alter coins and minors mining blocks
But them good old boys back in Illinois
and on down through Tennessee
See they don’t care to be a millionaire,
they’re just wanting to be free
Oh Bitcoin as you’re going into the old Blockchain
Oh Bitcoin I know you’re going to reign, gonna reign
Till everybody knows, everybody knows,
till everybody knows your name
From the ghettos of Calcutta to the halls of Parliament
While the bankers count Our money out for every government
Old Bitcoin flies on through the skies of Virtuality
A promise to deliver us from age old Tyranny
Oh Bitcoin as you’re going into the old Blockchain
Oh Bitcoin I know you’re going to reign, gonna reign
Till everybody knows, everybody knows,
till everybody knows your name
Till everybody knows, everybody knows,
till everybody knows your
“Give me some Exposure”
Everybody knows your name
Oh Lord pass me some more
Oh Lord before I have to go
Oh Lord pass me some more
Oh Lord . . . before I have to . . .
go . . .
“Thanks East Nashville! Y’all be good to each other out there ya hear!”
See more at weusenamecoins.com.
Quick Rundown of Namecoin:
- Used primarily for domain name registration
- Domains registered using Namecoin cannot be censored or shut down by ICANN, any government, or any other private entity
- Host your own website or use an out-of-jurisdiction VPS for greater resiliency against take-down requests
- Can also be used as a currency, for tips, etc.
- 21 million Namecoins total to be produced
- Mined and secured just like Bitcoin
- Transaction history kept forever in Blockchain public ledger
Nootropics are “Safe” Smart Drugs, supplements which can help you think clearly and focus, remember things better, and boost your mood. These supplements — while admittedly less dramatic — are infinitely safer than adderall but with near-zero side-effects.
If you’re just entering into the field of Nootropics, or are consider taking something to boost your mood or cognition, please keep the following caveats in mind:
- Don’t expect a miracle — this is rule number one. Many of these substances have subtle or gradually-building effects.
- Don’t expect increased motivation — this should come primarily from inside yourself. I think visualization and meditation practice are much more powerful tools for increasing motivation and overall well-being than any of the nootropics listed below.
- Don’t expect a dramatically different experience of reality — again subtle effects are common: Increases in visual information processing, listening comprehension, multitasking ability, reading speed, spatial awareness, feelings of calm, etc., may emerge.
- Sleep, exercise, and diet are your primary Nootropics — don’t neglect these fundamentals.
Here is what I recommend for the curious, new Nootropics user:
PIRACETAM — A water-soluble white powder which is thought to work by increasing acetylcholine uptake and cell-membrane fluidity in the brain. Dissolve 1 to 2 grams into a tall glass of fresh, clean water, stir once or twice, and imbibe. You may notice its effects within minutes. Maximum blood-plasma levels are reached after one hour. Up to 10-gram doses have been shown to be non-toxic, producing few side-effects, perhaps a headache, and for some people irritability. My recommended dose is 1 to 2 grams. You can take this two or three times per day, but I recommend waiting at least 6 hours in between doses. My recommended suppliers are New Star Nootropics ($17 per 100 grams, comes with 1.2 gram scoop) and Health Supplement Wholesalers ($12 per 100 grams). If you take 3 grams a day on average that should last you just over one month (33 days).
ANIRACETAM — A fat-soluble white powder which, again, is thought to work on acetylcholine uptake, but also is theorized to increase memory and cognition (and for many people reduce anxiety) by resensitizing the brain to glutamate (AMPA), one of the primary neurotransmitters. Either mix the powder in with olive oil, or put the powder straight into your mouth and drink it down. NOTE: It will not dissolve in water. Placing under the tongue for a minute and then washing it down may decrease the time-to-effect for you as it does for me. Aniracetam has a half-life in the body of 1 to 2 hours, versus Piracetam’s 7-8 hours. Aniracetam is significantly more powerful, however, and may be anxiolytic, or anxiety-reducing. Best dosages to try are between 750mg and 1 gram. Some people try to always take this with a fat-source, but this is not proven to be necessary. You may wish to take Aniracetam 3 or 4 times a day due to its short half-life. Recommended supplier: Health Supplement Wholesalers ($24 for 100 grams, roughly a 40-day supply).
OXIRACETAM — A water-soluble white powder like Piracetam. Doses recommended are 800mg to 1.2 grams. Noted most often for its boosting of spatial awareness and logical thinking, more than other -racetam-type compounds. Half-life is 7 hours or so. Take 2 or 3 times per day. I got mine from New Star Nootropics ($12 for 10 grams, not 100).
These three supplements — Oxiracetam, Aniracetam, and Piracetam — are good choices for beginners to see if Nootropics are for you. If you notice their effects and feel neutral or positive in terms of your mood after taking them then this is a good sign. If you feel significantly more anxious, they may not be. I have taken all three and felt good with the exception of when I take too much Aniracetam — this one is powerful and finding the right dose for you is important. The other two -racetams are not as finicky, I believe.
Testing them out:
After taking one of these 3 entry-level -racetams for the first time, try the following:
- Listen to a song whose words you don’t know by heart — Can you easily pick out the words?
- Try skimming a news article to get the gist — Can you read it while skipping lines or sets of words?
- Try going outside and looking at the plants and trees and animals — Do you notice more details than you would normally?
If you don’t notice anything and still feel fine emotionally (i.e. not anxious), try a few more times later on. Consider increasing the dosages by 50% or so. Aniracetam dosage should be increased perhaps only 10% at a time in my experience, as a little bit goes much further than with the others.
Many researchers and students of nootropics test and train their cognitive abilities through tasks such as Dual N-Back (about: wikipedia). Try for yourself if you are interested in seeing what these tests are like: Lumosity, Brainscale, Brain N-Back (android app), Dual N-Back (iOS app). These can help you understand and hone your memory over time, regardless of whether you take nootropics or not.
What are some other good, Beginner Nootropics?
Other popular choices include Choline Supplements to accompany the -racetams, L-theanine to accompany caffeine if you consume caffeine regularly, and Adaptogenic Herbs.
CHOLINE SUPPLEMENTS such as CDP-choine and Alpha-GPC help your brain to be able to produce more acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter. This is often helpful and synergistically-beneficial when taken with any of the above-listed -racetams. Take 200 to 300 mg of these substances 2 times a day for best results. Note that overdoing it can lead to some depressive symptoms potentially. If you have no choline in your diet, if you never eat eggs, for instance, it is advised to add this while experimenting with Piracetam, Aniracetam, and/or Oxiracetam. (By the way, it is okay to combine multiple different -racetams as each one is purported to act on subtly different mechanisms in the brain — just make sure you get a good feel for what each -racetam does for you first if experimenting with combinations.)
L-THEANINE is a compound in green tea (and other teas) which is relaxing and anxiety-reducing and helps to ameliorate the side-effects of caffeine, namely: anxiety and muscle-tension. I find it helps me remain calm when I have lots of caffeine. Recommended to take 2x the L-theanine as caffeine that you intake. One easy way to measure and keep track of this is to take a combo-supplement with both! I like Natural Stack’s Smart Caffeine. It has 100mg caffeine per pill, and 200mg L-theanine. This is a good proportion.
ASHWAGANDHA is an anxiolytic adaptogen (an anxiety and stress-reducing herb) much lauded in Ayurveda. It is also said to increase virility and male fertility. It seems to reduce my anxiety and encourage more pro-social tendencies in me, like sustained eye-contact. I buy mine from Organic India (link to bulk powder, capsules also available).
BACOPA MONNIERI is another ayurvedic herb shown to boost memory and help you fight anxiety. It is one of the most studied herbal nootropics, and one that I plan to add to my stack in the near future. NOTE: memory and cognition boosting aspects of this herb may take up to 6 weeks to notice. Anxiolytic effects should be apparent early on. I plan to buy mine from Health Supplement Wholesalers, as I’ve had a good experience with them in getting aniracetam.
RHODIOLA ROSEA is a Traditional Chinese Medicine and Scandinavian adaptogenic herb used to fight fatigue and exhaustion. It is a potential neuroprotective agent, and has been shown to boost longevity in animal studies. It is serotogenic, meaning it acts upon serotonin systems in the brain, and is reported to enhance general subjective well being and cognition through its anti-depression and anti-fatigue-type effects. I also have yet to try Rhodiola, and plan to purchase some soon for myself again from Health Supplement Wholesalers.
After exploring L-theanine, the -racetams, choline, and the adaptogenic herbs, I might consider testing out some of the following newer, and more powerful -racetams:
NOOPEPT is a highly-potent piracetam analogue. It is said to increase Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor and Nerve Growth Factor. This means increasing neuro-plasticity, potentially. It is often recommended that you take it for a period of time and then cycle off of it, for instance, 2 months on, 1 month off. A friend of mine noticed personality changes in himself with noopept: He became much more serious and focused, yet less fun-loving in his own estimation. I felt this one to be stimulating and enhance my short-term memory and focus, personally. Doses of 10mg to 30mg are recommended. I got mine from New Star Nootropics.
COLURACETAM is a newer piracetam-analogue with potentially semi-permanent effects. Again, this one is very powerful (doses of 3 to 10mg are suggested). It is said to increase acetylcholine uptake (High Affinity Choline Uptake), and is reported by some users to be motivating and stimulating. I got mine again from New Star Nootropics.
If you’ve tried all of these and are looking for other suggestions of things to experiment with, hit me up: 84adam[at]thrivenotes[dot]com.
See Reddit’s StackAdvice subreddit if you’re planning a combination of various Nootropics to take and want feedback from the community there. Also very helpful is /r/Nootropics’ A Beginner’s Guide to Nootropics for reliable suppliers, safety information, and more.
If you’ve got feedback or an experience report for one of the supplements I’ve listed please comment below!
What is Dogecoin?
- Dogecoin is a fun, new and rapidly growing form of digital currency.
- This form of digital currency is called “cryptocurrency”; a type of digital currency.
- Cryptocurrency is completely anonymous, decentralized, and extremely secure.
Dogecoin is used with a wallet on your computer, a wallet app on your smartphone, or from an online wallet. You can use it to buy goods and services, or trade it for other currencies (both other cryptocurrencies or traditional currency like US dollars). One of the most popular uses for Dogecoin is “tipping” fellow internet-goers who create or share great content. Think of it as a more meaningful “like” or upvote, with real value that can be used all across the internet.
It is very easy to start using Dogecoin:
- Step 1: Get A Wallet.
- Step 2: Get Some Dogecoin.
- Step 3: Use Your Dogecoin.
- Step 4: Stay Up-to-Date.
For more information, see the Getting Started Guide.
By the way, I will always pronounce DOGEcoin as if it rhymed with ROGUEcoin… :)
TO THE MOON!
A few weeks before tax day, the IRS gave guidance saying (that is, they declared that) Bitcoin is, was, and always has been a commodity in regards to tax burden. Capital gains tax applies each time a transaction is made with this
currency commodity (shall we call it a commurrency?), even if it is just a cup of coffee being purchased. If the price of Bitcoin was higher when you bought the Bitcoin than when you made the purchase, then you are liable to pay capital gains tax on that purchase. This is great for institutional investors, not so great for people in the U.S. who are using it as a currency. Personally, I wonder about the IRS’s capacity to enforce and act on this with the growing adoption of Bitcoin. Also, since the ruling is retroactive, all purchases/transactions made with Bitcoin since the beginning of time are fair game. So what if you don’t or can’t know the input and output values of all your coins (including other virtual currencies like Litecoin, Dogecoin, etc.) since 2009, when Bitcoin was released?
There is a clause apparently that says that if you can’t provide this information for some reason, or if you don’t have the records, then you *may* be forgiven of some of your burden for some of your gains if you appeal upon being audited for a given amount. Losses do deduct from total gains, just like you would expect, but I guess I just wonder how the IRS expects to keep track of Bitcoin transactions and audit people going forward. I know a number of people who bought their first Bitcoins through coinbase using a bank transfer. Like most people in this boat, you then transfer those coins to a safer-than-coinbase storage medium, whether that’s a paper wallet or the Bitcoin-Qt Standard Software Wallet which you run on your home computer (hopefully safely encrypted and backed-up — see my guide on doing this here). Each transaction made in order to get these coins under your control in this scenario is a transaction, but note: you haven’t purchased anything, or traded anything of value for your Bitcoins. Ultimately, essentially, all Bitcoin transactions whether purchases or personal fund-movements appear identical to the Bitcoin network. Were there some greater level of willing transparency on this issue from the IRS, we could know if they plan to, say, host their own bitcoin node, download the blockchain themselves just to make sure they understand it, or merely check transfers using an online blockchain (the public ledger), like blockchain.info, for example.
The final obstacle in collecting (and reporting) revenues from cryptocurrencies stems from high-frequency trading — say you bought your Bitcoin on a U.S. exchange, then transferred it to BTC-e in Bulgaria (where it’s counted as a virtual currency, incidentally…), then engaged in a bout of high-frequency Bitcoin/Litecoin/Dogecoin/Peercoin trading. The IRS doesn’t likely have legitimate access to these trades, nor may you have even a decently-complete record of what’s transpired; all you know now is you have more fill-in-the-blank-coins than when you started.
Another complication arises with the arrival (soon: May Day) of dark wallets and (next-gen) seamless coin mixing services. Dark Wallet by Defense Distributed is one such development which will be used to strip coins of their identifying information (i.e. where they came from first/middle/last). Anonymity in cryptocurrency will be possible (more possible than it is now). Add to this the facilitation of anonymous purchases through dark markets and distributed markets, such as BitWasp and DarkMarket (this also from Defense Distributed). Where the Silk Road was shut down, Silk Road 2.0, and others now exist. Add to this these 2 more new projects and project outwards: we are seeing exponential development and evolution in this economic space. Many more black, grey, and unrestricted markets will bloom — expect to hear more about this soon!
In other news, China is still wishy-washy about Bitcoin, but hasn’t outright banned it, and since some time has passed since the last definitely-going-to-be-banned rumors spread, the price has come back up a bit to around $500, from a low of approximately $350. Ultimately, the failure of Mt. Gox brought the value down by half in the early part of 2014, simply because so many people lost their money, and also because of all the FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) spread about by the media; read: “Mt. Gox failed; Bitcoin’s dead!” Such proclamations will likely continue to be heard for a few years to come for a variety of reasons, but whatever happens in one country or region need not happen in another (I’m talking about legislation, FYI…). Finally, I will say I believe Bitcoin’s value will continue to rise as the technology is made more accessible through simple, non-smart phones, as more people learn how to send Bitcoins through SMS, and as more charities and families are able to receive donations and remittances throughout the world with near-0 friction, essentially for free at that.
Lastly, in the news: Sidechain innovation. I’m excited about this for Bitcoin and its future. Basically, instead of creating new alt-coins in the future, it may be possible to update the Bitcoin core to more easily extend Bitcoin into semi-temporary Sidechain-coins with different, varying properties based on people’s needs. Say you need a coin that transacts (or is confirmed) quicker — you simply create a sidechain, put some Bitcoin in escrow to initiate this, and create Side-Quick-Bit-Coins or whatever you wanna call them. Then when or if the need is gone, return the Bitcoins in escrow to the normal Bitcoin network. I’m fuzzy on the details, but stoked about the implications, particularly for Bitcoin’s ability to compete with Ethereum and other Bitcoin 2.0 protocols like Mastercoin and Colored Coins. The bottom line is new functionality and greater scalability with this.
Secure and backup your cryptocurrency.
Create redundant encrypted local copies of your wallet.dat files.
Create a triple-encrypted, double-obfuscated volume containing all your crypto-wallets (using 7-Zip and TrueCrypt).
Securely upload, email, share, and place this volume on the cloud.
~ LA PRIMERA ETAPA ~
The first step is to secure your crypto-stash locally:
- Sync your wallet with the bitcoin-litecoin-dogecoin-whatevercoin network.
- Encrypt your wallet with a good, strong password, either 10+ random characters or 8+ random words. Ideally, you should use 14+ random characters, despite what the bitcoin-qt wallet shows you:
~ LA SEGUNDA ETAPA ~
Your wallet is secured, however, it must be backed-up in multiple (i.e. three or more) locations.
I save an extra wallet copy in a folder in My Documents, and another copy in another folder on my external hard-drive. I also occasionally backup my important folders and my whole system on a third hard-drive.
Typically you can find your original wallet location on your computer by typing the following into the Start Menu search area:
If you type this in exactly, it should show a folder called ‘Roaming’ in your start menu. Press ENTER and it will transport you to this typically-hidden folder. Inside you should see a number of folders containing application-data, including one titled Bitcoin, and perhaps others, Dogecoin, etc. if you have them installed.
When you enter the Bitcoin folder, you will see a number of things. One is ‘wallet.dat’. This small file contains your entire stash of coins, now protected if you’ve encrypted it in LA PRIMERA ETAPA.
Each time you want to duplicate and backup this ‘wallet.dat’ file, you should do the following:
- In your Bitcoin/Othercoin wallet program, choose ‘File > Backup Wallet’.
- NAME IT: Something indicating the Coin-type and the date would be good.
- CHOOSE A DESTINATION: Somewhere safe. Multiple media types are ideal: CD’s, USB’s, Hard-drives, Floppies, etc.
~ LA TERCERA ETAPA ~
Now your stash is encrypted and well backed-up — assuming you named and backed-up your wallet.dat file in 3+ places in a way and manner in which you will not lose or forget these files exist.
The next step is an added layer (or two) of extropy needed to protect your coins from totally ridiculous calamities, such as fires, floods, earthquakes, and nuclear bombs.
If your house burns down and your physical backup media are destroyed, you’ve also then lost your ‘wallet.dat’ backup files. Coins gone. Bummer, man!
This is where the cloud can be useful, however — CAVEAT EMPTOR — there is a smart way and a dumb way to do this. I will, of course, explain the smart way. (The dumb way would be to not add any additional protections… or to make the file public… or to advertise its existence to everyone.)
TWO DISTICT PROGRAMS will be explored here as means of adding two additional layers of protection to your entire stash (multiple wallets and coin types included). They are:
7-Zip — This compression program can also encrypt and password protect each of your ‘wallet.dat’ files while adding a layer of obfuscation which would prevent outside observers from viewing filenames contained within. (It encrypts the filenames, hiding transaction logs and address lists from view.)
TrueCrypt — This creates an encrypted, password-protected volume (think: folder) in which you can store each of your now-obfuscated, now-twice-encrypted ‘wallet.dat’ files.
Steps to follow using 7-Zip for each ‘wallet.dat’ file:
- Install 7-Zip.
- Right-click the first ‘wallet.dat’ file.
- Select 7-Zip in the menu, then click ‘Add to Archive’.
- In ‘Archive:’, change the name to something unrelated to wallets and coins and doges (oh, my!).
- In the ‘Add to Archive’ window, first check that ‘Archive format:’ shows ’7z’.
- Ensure that ‘Encryption method:’ shows ‘AES-256′.
- Check the box for ‘Encrypt file names’.
- Create a strong password that is different from the one used to encrypt the ‘wallet.dat’ file intially. Again, ideally 14+ random characters or 8+ random words. (As with all steps in this process, you’re screwed if you forget or lose this password.)
- Press OK when your password is in.
You should now have an obfuscated, double-secured ‘wallet.dat’ file. Unless you tell someone (or give someone your password), at this point no one will be able to know what-the-crap this archive is, much less gain access to it, absent, again, Mega-Serious Cracking Abilities (MSCA).
Once you have 7-Zipped all your ‘wallet.dat’ files for all your coins, proceed to the TrueCrypt phase…
Steps to follow with TrueCrypt for your collection of Wallet Archives:
- Install TrueCrypt.
- Open TrueCrypt.
- Select ‘Create Volume’.
- Ensure ‘Create an encrypted file container’ is selected, and press NEXT.
- Here we have an option to create a ‘Standard’ or a ‘Hidden’ TrueCrypt volume. For now, we will simply create a ‘Standard’ volume (Hit NEXT). Later I will detail the steps necessary to create a Hidden volume, which is particularly useful if you believe you may be forced to reveal your password to someone under duress at some point in the future. For now, we’ll just assume a hidden volume isn’t necessary because A) you “don’t have that much money”, and B) you “surely haven’t advertised that you have this special TrueCrypt volume with a bunch of crypto-money in it”.
- Choose ‘Select File…’ and browse to a location where you would like to create your TrueCrypt volume, the Desktop, let’s say. We are merely creating a container right now.
- After browsing to your chosen location, come up with something inane to name your TrueCrypt container. “photos from joey”, or something to that effect. Type that name into the ‘File name:’ field and hit SAVE.
- Hit NEXT.
- The next screen allows us to select our encryption and hashing algorithms. For first-timers, the default options AES and RIPEMD-160 are recommended. Hit NEXT.
- Next we’ll choose a size for this volume we’re creating. Let’s see, what’s a good size for a spoofed folder full of pictures from Joey? How about 14MB? Should be plenty. The wallet.dat archives are only around 40KB each. Type in an amount ranging from 5 to 20MB. Hit NEXT.
- Now we’ll choose a final password. TrueCrypt recommends a 20+ character password, with no easily-guessable whole words. Type in and then re-enter your chosen password. BEFORE YOU HIT NEXT, read about Generating Entropy:
In the next screen, TrueCrypt will ask you to ‘move your mouse around randomly’ for at least 30 seconds. The reason it is doing this is to collect random data — from your mouse movements — with which to scramble and improve the encryption of your TrueCrypt volume. Be ready to move your mouse around randomly for 30 to 90 seconds before you hit NEXT.
- Hit NEXT and begin moving your mouse around randomly. (The VOLUME FORMAT screen should be displayed now). Continue to move your mouse around for at least 30 seconds. After you are either content or tired of moving your mouse around for no apparent reason, click FORMAT. No need to edit any options here.
- After you hit FORMAT, wait for your volume to be created. NOTE: This may take a while if you chose a large volume size. When it has finished, it will show a dialog box indicating that “The TrueCrypt volume has been successfully created.” Hit OK.
- In the next screen, “Volume Created”, hit EXIT.
- Next we will browse to our TrueCrypt volume and mount it from the main TrueCrypt window. (NOTE: If you don’t have the main TrueCrypt window open any more, simply re-open TrueCrypt from the Start Menu.) From within the main window, select an available drive. If you have dozens of hard-drives or CD drives in your computer, you’ll have to choose from amongst the later drive letters in the alphabet. I’m choosing ‘M:’ for “Mega Serious”.
- Click ‘Select File…’ after choosing your drive letter.
- Browse to and select your inanely-named TrueCrypt Volume, ‘photos from joey’ — or whatever it is you called it. Hit OPEN.
- In the main TrueCrypt window, hit MOUNT.
- Enter your password and hit OK.
- If you have successfully mounted your volume, the name, size, encryption algorithm, and type will show up in the main TrueCrypt window next to the drive letter onto which you chose to mount it. You can now open the volume as you would any other drive or folder. Either double-click on the volume name from within the TrueCrypt window, or browse to your list of Hard Disk Drives in Computer and double-click on ‘Local Disk (M:)’. REMEMBER: You may have chosen a different drive letter than me. ;-)
- Now we may proceed to the final step of our Cryptocoin Backup Process…
~ LA CUARTA ETAPA ~
This stage is significantly easier than stage three.
- Now that you have your TrueCrypt volume created, encrypted, and opened, simply copy and paste (or drag-and-drop) your 7-Zipped ‘wallet.dat’ files into it. Once they are copied into this volume, you can consider them safe. Once you restart or shutdown your computer, even if the power just goes out, your files are encrypted and safe. You can also choose to DISMOUNT your volume from within the TrueCrypt window and EXIT now.
Next time you want to access your files now, remember you will have to:
- Open TrueCrypt.
- Select File…
- Select the volume and click OPEN.
- Hit MOUNT.
- Enter your password; hit OK.
- Double-click on the volume once it is mounted.
- Right click on the wallet file you want to open. Choose ‘Open Archive’ with 7-Zip.
- Enter the 7-Zip Archive password.
- You now have access to your coin wallet again. (REMEMBER: You also encrypted this file. Good on you!)
~ LA QUINTA ETAPA ~
The final stage.
Share/upload/distribute your triple-encrypted, double-obfuscated TrueCrypt Multi-Wallet Backup System Volume (just one single file now) to a few trusted friends or locations.
You can now safely store this file in your email account, your dropbox, on your smartphone, on a friend’s hard-drive, and so on. The sky’s the limit!
~ LA EXTRA ETAPA: Can you Grok it? ~
I personally can’t grok any more today. I intended to add a section on creating a special hidden volume with TrueCrypt in which to place our ‘wallet.dat’ files. For now I’m quite content with this beginner’s guide. Please see: http://www.truecrypt.org/docs/hidden-volume to read up on Hidden Volumes and try it yourself if you feel so inclined. I may choose to update this guide in the future with a Hidden Volumes tutorial section. We’ll see.
~ LOS RECURSOS QUE UTILICÉ PARA ESCRIBIR ESTA GUÍA ~
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a highly extropic virtual currency and payment platform. It is resistant to entropy, theft, political corruption, and market manipulation (i.e. arbitrary inflation).
Here is an under-two-minute Bitcoin intro video from weusecoins.com:
What are Bitcoin’s novel features (both as a currency and as a technology)?
- The coins themselves cannot be burnt or destroyed, nor can they be stolen (if encrypted and backed-up properly). Coins can also be stored offline in a paper wallet or an indestructible, encrypted aluminum wallet.
- Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer, decentralized currency and banking/ledger system with no single point of failure.
- It has worldwide appeal and utility; different people are interested in it for different reasons and all can participate freely.
- A whole cryptocurrency ecosystem has evolved from it. See: Litecoin, Namecoin, or Anoncoin for examples of this.
What are its downsides commonly thought to be?
There are a number of arguments leveled against Bitcoin. Most posit that it will either be rendered null or that there are no legitimate uses for it. Briefly, here are a few of the more common arguments:
- That governments and banks will soon feel so threatened by it that they will shut it down.
- It’s volatile; it’s difficult to speculate on; it’s not a good investment.
- Only criminals and tax-evaders use it. (And/or high frequency traders.)
- It’s not accepted anywhere; you can’t really use it for anything.
- It would fail if the internet went down.
Now to examine these arguments.
First, that someone or some entity might shut it down:
Bitcoin cannnot be shut down by any authority as could Napster, or Wikileaks, or even the Pirate Bay for that matter. It is completely decentralized and has spread around the world. It is not dependent on ICANN or any centralized protocol or institution controlled by any one entity. I don’t think any conceivable level of coordination could remove enough copies of the peer-to-peer software necessary to run it — existing on many millions of devices around the world at this point — in order to shut it down. Also, as we move forward people are increasingly meeting in person to exchange bitcoin and other coins for cash, meaning that 3rd party bitcoin services (like Coinbase or Mt. Gox) are non-essential to obtaining cryptocurrencies.
Recently China declared that Bitcoin would not be accepted as currency there and that 3rd party Bitcoin/Renminbi exchanges would have to shut down at the end of 2013. This caused the prices to halve as there was great excitement and a surge of interest in Bitcoin in China previously. And while it will be harder for Chinese people to get and sell potentially, it certainly doesn’t spell the end for Bitcoin around the world. For example, Germany accepts it, as do the US, the Netherlands, Canada, Japan, France, and others. (I expect even in China it will continue to play some, albeit marginalized, role.) Note also: Swiss lawmakers are considering treating it as they would any other foreign currency as we speak.
Second, on the volatility, the usefulness for investment purposes:
It is difficult to speculate on, but less so, I believe, if you think in longer time frames than does a high-frequency trader.
Looking at this chart of the all-time price history of Bitcoin (above), we can see a number of big peaks and valleys, but the general trend is up — in a big way. It is new and subject to an extent to hype and speculation (as is any new commodity or currency, of course). One glance at the overall trajectory, however, and it appears to be more of an exponential trend than a linear one. I cannot conceive of traditional commodities or other physical currencies growing in this fashion, and believe it is only possible with a digital, peer-to-peer, distributed, low-barriers-to-entry system such as Bitcoin. Take a look at this all-time price history with weekly (instead of daily) price points and tell me that the growth is not astonishingly exponential in appearance…!
I think over the long term the value will continue to increase. If we look at a few examples of how Bitcoin (and the underlying protocol) are already being used I think it will become obvious why its value — and the value of other cryptocurrencies — is likely to increase over time.
Who uses it, where, and for what:
Bitcoin is a freely accessible, open-source, distributed, digital currency. That means that anyone with a smart phone or computer and internet access can use it. This ease-of-use and convenience may allow for it to supersede conventional payment and banking technologies, like paypal, moneygram, and bank transfers. As there is no bureaucracy involved, coins can be transferred to anyone, from anyone, at any time and for any reason. All this within minutes. All this without fees.
Here’s a few example uses:
- Trade sanctions can be bypassed. Cubans in the US can send their families money without hassle.
- Money can be sent anonymously (and if not then at least pseudonymously) over the internet for the first time in history. For more on the issue of true anonymity and the technical discussions surrounding it see: Zerocoin.
- Woodlank Patchwork, a new micronation which is both an enclave and an exclave of Japan, has chosen Bitcoin as its official currency.
- WordPress users can pay with Bitcoin.
- Reddit accepts it for advertising, tipping other users, and other promotional uses.
- Shopify allows merchants to accept it.
- OKcupid accepts it for premium services.
- Nesbit’s Fine Watch Service (near me in Seattle) accepts it.
- Seattle-based Accountable Moving & Storage accepts it.
- Cheapair.com accepts it for purchasing plane tickets.
- Khan Academy accepts it for donations.
- Tesla accepts it for the purchase of their electric cars.
- Virgin Galactic recently sold their first ticket into space purchased with Bitcoin.
- See CoinMap.org and useBitcoins.info for 1000′s more locations worldwide where Bitcoins are accepted.
Here, additionally, are some fascinating non-monetary uses:
- Proof of Existence allows users to anonymously time-stamp and create a record of a document’s existence. The cryptographic signature of this time-stamp is then stored for all time in the Bitcoin blockchain, the redundant, distributed ledger of transactions. With this you can certify that a given document/idea/etc exists without the need for a central authority. Think patent/copyright office, but peer-to-peer and open-source. Also, think censorship-proof publishing platform. Proof of Existence is built on top of the Bitcoin protocol.
- Namecoin is an ‘altcoin’, an alternative cryptocurrency with features that distinguish it from Bitcoin. Namecoin is specifically designed to create an open-source, distributed DNS network. While most every website you would visit currently is ultimately controlled by ICANN (who assigns domain names like thrivenotes.com), Namecoin is creating an alternative, decentralized system, whereby censorship will be impossible, and anyone will be able to create and host a website without risk of it being removed from the internet by ICANN or other influential parties (See: Homeland Security domain name seizures). Namecoin is a fork of the Bitcoin source-code.
What if the internet went down? Are there any other security issues to be aware of?
Besides the fact that the whole internet going down would be disastrous for everyone and all internet-based services, consider the following way in which Bitcoin could possibly even survive or thrive were the net to go down:
In an amazingly ambitious announcement, Bitcoin Developer Jeff Garzik declared his intention to launch cubesat Bitcoin nodes into space to store extra redundant copies of the blockchain in case of certain types of attack or internet outages. This apparently would cost only around $2 Million to do and would provide an additional layer of extropy (higher-order, complexity, and resiliency) to Bitcoin. I find this just fascinating. Perhaps Bitcoin would be okay..!
Regardless, I would like to provide some additional details on the security of the Bitcoin ecosystem, but thought it best to leave it to the experts for this one. Here is some useful Q&A from the Bitcoin Security FAQ:
Is Bitcoin secure?
The Bitcoin technology – the protocol and the cryptography – has a strong security track record, and the Bitcoin network is probably the biggest distributed computing project in the world. Bitcoin’s most common vulnerability is in user error. Bitcoin wallet files that store the necessary private keys can be accidentally deleted, lost or stolen. This is pretty similar to physical cash stored in a digital form. Fortunately, users can employ sound security practices to protect their money or use service providers that offer good levels of security and insurance against theft or loss.
The best way to be safe is to be sure of who you’re dealing with (trusted exchanges, for instance, are a good place to start) when purchasing, and then to store your wallet encrypted (with an 8+ word password, for example) in multiple (that is, 3+) locations.
Hasn’t Bitcoin been hacked in the past?
The rules of the protocol and the cryptography used for Bitcoin are still working years after its inception, which is a good indication that the concept is well designed. However, security flaws have been found and fixed over time in various software implementations. Like any other form of software, the security of Bitcoin software depends on the speed with which problems are found and fixed. The more such issues are discovered, the more Bitcoin is gaining maturity.
There are often misconceptions about thefts and security breaches that happened on diverse exchanges and businesses. Although these events are unfortunate, none of them involve Bitcoin itself being hacked, nor imply inherent flaws in Bitcoin; just like a bank robbery doesn’t mean that the dollar is compromised. However, it is accurate to say that a complete set of good practices and intuitive security solutions is needed to give users better protection of their money, and to reduce the general risk of theft and loss. Over the course of the last few years, such security features have quickly developed, such as wallet encryption, offline wallets, hardware wallets, and multi-signature transactions.
I love this line: a bank robbery doesn’t mean the dollar has been compromised. So perfect. I feel this is very important to consider in discussions of crytocurrencies: ‘Is this a local vulnerability that’s been exploited, or a global/universal one tatamount to the annihilation of Bitcoin (et al.)?’
Could users collude against Bitcoin?
It is not possible to change the Bitcoin protocol that easily. Any Bitcoin client that doesn’t comply with the same rules cannot enforce their own rules on other users. As per the current specification, double spending is not possible on the same block chain, and neither is spending bitcoins without a valid signature. Therefore, It is not possible to generate uncontrolled amounts of bitcoins out of thin air, spend other users’ funds, corrupt the network, or anything similar.
However, a majority of miners could arbitrarily choose to block or reverse recent transactions. A majority of users can also put pressure for some changes to be adopted. Because Bitcoin only works correctly with a complete consensus between all users, changing the protocol can be very difficult and requires an overwhelming majority of users to adopt the changes in such a way that remaining users have nearly no choice but to follow. As a general rule, it is hard to imagine why any Bitcoin user would choose to adopt any change that could compromise their own money.
Consensus-based, democratic, open-source projects FOR THE WIN.
Is Bitcoin vulnerable to quantum computing?
Yes, most systems relying on cryptography in general are, including traditional banking systems. However, quantum computers don’t yet exist and probably won’t for a while. In the event that quantum computing could be an imminent threat to Bitcoin, the protocol could be upgraded to use post-quantum algorithms. Given the importance that this update would have, it can be safely expected that it would be highly reviewed by developers and adopted by all Bitcoin users.
Just imagine: Quantum-Encryption-Protected Bitcoin. What would we call it? QuBitcoin? Bitcoin-Cubed? 5th-DimensionalCoin? Whatever form it takes, whatever it’s called, I love their assertion that Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Developers will continue to develop and maximize the extropian potential of these liberating technologies — even in the face of quantum-supercomputer highway-robbery-attempts.
TL;DR – What about Bitcoin?
- You can send money to anyone, anytime.
- It can’t be shut down by governments.
- It can’t be controlled by corporations or the Federal Reserve.
- It may be protected from other conceivable, future forms of interference through the use of space-based redundancy satellites.
- And you can buy everything from a cup of joe to an electric car with it.
Seems pretty awesomely versatile, valuable, and revolutionary to me!
As you may know, the last time I wrote about Extropian Linux Operating System Distros I examined my top two choices of Debian and openSUSE. Why were they my top picks? Well, to start they both have strong communities of developers. Additionally, they are stable distros with long support cycles — not as long as CentOS, mind you, but I digress — these long support cycles mean that each version of the operating system will last and be well supported for a long time, probably two to four years, if not longer.
Both Debian and openSUSE are independent projects as well, which I quite enjoy. None of that opt-out spying and 3rd-party profit-motivated collusion that you get with Ubuntu.
My top two choices are also both predicated on user-friendliness. None of that Arch & Gentoo command-line installation stuff. Sweet and simple installs for me.
Recently, I’ve determined that I would like to create a blog and host it on a home server. For this purpose and to familiarize myself with what I believe will be the best, most extropian pick in the long run, I’ve gone with the stalwart: Debian.
Debian has over 3000 developers worldwide and forms the basis for many other big name projects, such as Ubuntu and Linux Mint. (It must be doing something right!)
In order to streamline the process of testing for myself (and ideally that of installation on friends’ and family members’ computers) I went with the default Desktop Environment choice of GNOME 3. I was disappointed, however, to find that it didn’t work anything like what I was used to with GNOME 2 (which I last used with Fedora 14) or CINNAMON (which I last used with Linux Mint 14).
I guess this is what a lot of users were complaining about: A major break in design and user experience for no apparent reason at all.
Secondly, and perhaps the main reason why I am abandoning GNOME 3 (and most likely KDE as well) in favor of the XFCE desktop is that I felt GNOME 3 to be a resource hog. DISCLAIMER: I am running Debian 7 virtualized in VirtualBox. UNDISCLAIMER: This may actually be an excellent test bed for — or simulation of — the use of Debian on friends’ and family members’ old PC’s and Macs. The lighter on the system, the better. Otherwise we are giving Entropy a leg up as we lean towards ditching our old hardware; it’s still got plenty of potential as long as the tools we use are not too heavy.
What’s nice about XFCE is that it is super-lightweight. It uses minimal system resources, RAM, hard-drive space, etc.
It looks good. Not super polished like openSUSE or anything, but it has a clean and functional look. Keep reading »
by adminadam in poetry
into, under, below
the ocean water surface
i’ve been trying for so long to breach
again and again
to relax, sink, float down
to touch the root of the age
to touch the root of the times
to experience fully the earth in this life
window of time is brief
and there is no hurry
An embeddable, real-time Bitcoin price ticker from BTCquote.com.
Also, see the all-time price history for Bitcoins, since October 2010:
[click to enlarge]
US Dollars per Bitcoin over the last 3 years:
October 2010: ~$0--- October 2011: ~$10-- October 2012: ~$17-- October 2013: ~$190- October 2014: ~$????
Cycles of Time: The Kali Yuga & Time as a Function of Consciousness
September 4, 2013
BY: V. Susan Ferguson, Contributor
SOURCE: Waking Times
The 4 Ages are:
- The Satya or Krita Yuga, a Golden Age
- The Treta Yuga, the Age of Ritual
- Dvapara Yuga, the Age of Doubt: Man loses the sense of the Divine Reality of the world and grows away from natural law
- The Kali Yuga, the Age of Conflict and confusion began in 3012 BC and will end with the nearly total devastation of the present humanity
When you study the Hindu theory of the Cycles of Time and the yugas, you will find a confusing divergence of opinion concerning the dates of their duration. Considering that we are now living in the Age of Confusion, the Kali Yuga, it is not surprising to find so much disagreement on these matters.
Writing is the symptom of a degenerative culture
What is more important to me than precise numbers is the fact that we are living in an era where there is almost no memory of the previous cycles of time. Most of us wrongly believe that civilization begins with written history, however writing is actually the symptom of a degenerative culture – because it is sound that communicates meaning, not the markings that seek to represent it.
Reach beyond the limited frequencies of this Veil of Illusion you have been confined within – all of your lives. The experience of expanding and projecting your thoughts, consciousness and imagination back into primordial time is in itself liberating, revealing and uplifting.
The realization that time is in fact a function of consciousness will alter your perception of reality. We all experience time relative to our own specific consciousness. You can verify this for yourself by simply reflecting on, for example, how time flies when you are happy – as opposed how time drags when you are depressed or bored.
Time does not exist outside the temporal illusory hologram.
All increments, meaning measurements of time and space, are relative to the consciousness of the perceiver and thus the product of variations in waveform frequencies, based on and the result of the specific degree of the illusion of Separation from Oneness. This is similar to the quantum physics theory, The Copenhagen interpretation, Part II: Reality is created by observation. Or you might say more accurately, reality is created by the consciousness of the observer.
In ‘While the Gods Play’, the French scholar Alain Danielou explains that the length of a moment is established by the rhythms of consciousness that perceive it:
“It is energy, by producing vibratory waves having direction and length, that will give birth to the rhythms whose perceptions will create the dimension of time, the measure of space, and at the same time the structures of matter. … For man, the perception of the dimension of time is determined by his vital rhythms, his heartbeat…”
The duration of each of the four yugas is relative to each other as 4:3:2:1. This implies that the Golden Age is the longest and our current Kali Age is the shortest. In a Twilight of the Kali Yuga, time actually continues to speed up and increases ever more so, as we reach the end. The cycles of time are rather like classical Indian Ragas that begin slowly, serene, increase in tempo and passion, and end in a frenzy of energy.
Alain Danielou’s dates differ from others. Danielou says that the Twilight of the Kali Yuga began in 1939 with the discovery of atomic fission. According to him, the final catastrophe will take place during this twilight and the last traces of this present mankind will have disappeared in 2442. This doesn’t necessarily imply that we have an extra 400 years to fool around in. God only knows what earth changes will be taking place on this planet during that time.
In Hindu metaphysics of time is cyclical and each period of manifestation is called a KALPA of Brahma, equivalent to 4.32 billion human year.
- The KALPA is subdivided into 14 MANVANTARAS.
- We are now in the seventh MANVANTARA of this KALPA.
- Each MANVANTARA is divided into 71 MAHA-YUGAS of 4,320,000 years each.
- We are in the 28th MAHA-YUGA of this MANVANTARA.
- Each MAHA-YUGA is made up of four yugas
- Each Yuga is preceded by a period of a dawn and followed by a period of twilight. [Linga Purana 1.4.3-6]
The KALI YUGA, the Age of Conflict & Confusion
The Kali Yuga is the only yuga most of us are familiar with because we have been living all our lives within these dense frequencies. Our mind, the way we think, and thus our perception of ‘reality’ has literally been cooked by the vibratory frequencies of time within the Kali Yuga. We humans have been ‘cooked by time’ to the point that only the fives senses remain available to us to understand the world around us. The five senses are easily confused.
The five senses can indeed be programmed and tricked by tyrannical wizards who want to control our lives. Today’s monopoly media is very aware of how to entrain and manipulate the five senses. In our modern world most of the information received around the planet suits the agendas of the multinational corporations, who also happen to own the monopoly media.
The five senses are vulnerable to deceit and manipulation by any and all. In other cycles of time, information gathered solely by the five senses would have been highly suspect. The ancient Rishis, ‘SEERS’ – those who see – were trusted as the source of wisdom concerning mankind’s future and our interconnection with the Cosmos.
It is only the ‘SEER’ within you, the one who has quieted the mind and achieved a connection to the God-within, who can offer insight into the true nature of reality. Only an inner-knowingness can lead us out of our current predicament – out of our miasma of amnesia, the soup we are still ‘cooking’ in. Only by transcending differentiated perception, the illusory powers of the five senses, and an understanding of GUNAMAYA, will we human beings return to the Real.
There are numerous descriptions of the symptoms of the Kali Yuga in the ancient Sanskrit Puranic texts. Bear in mind that writing is itself a symptom of the Kali Yuga. These texts were composed and transmitted orally in the previous cycles of time and handed down through memory, based on verbatim repetition, from one generation to the next. It was only in 500 BC that the grammarian Panini codified the Sanskrit language and these memorized texts were put into the form of writing. Sanskrit’s arduous precision was intentionally designed to protect the ancient knowledge from the confusion ensuing in the Kali Yuga.
The symptom that completely convinced me that the Cycles of Time were true was this: “Ready cooked food will be on sale.” [LINGA Purana Ch. 40] The ancients foresaw ‘fast food’! They knew that pre-prepared food loses its nutritional value.
The Light is primarily unmanifest, hidden.
The Kali Yuga is the Age of Darkness. The Light is primarily unmanifest, meaning not completely gone, just veiled and hidden in the Kali – and the Darkside rules. You can lighten the world around you by realizing and Remembering the God-within you, and by letting that frequency flow out around you. Even if people don’t accept what you say, they will be uplifted by your silent consciousness.
However don’t expect them to love you or even like you. Their Kali Yuga egos are firmly enthroned and will feel unconsciously threatened by your presence. The small identity-self ego has no wish to give up its power and if the person is unwittingly hosting denizens of the Phantasmal Hierarchies – perhaps in the form of an addiction to drugs, alcohol, or tyrannical power – then these parasitical entities will attack you and do just about anything to get you away from their ‘food’ supply!
The Kali Yuga seems to actually reward the Darkside, those ruthless ratzoids that are weak and greedy, liars without any integrity, morals, or principles often succeed. While the maverick thinkers, who possess a quiet sense of honor, who feel compassion for others, and respect primordial truth, are quickly pushed aside and berated, often brutally and publicly, by the elite.
In today’s culture almost everything that is being held up to us as great, desirable, and worthy is a short-term fix and sadly – rubbish. All of the power and money in the world will not give you the Remembrance of Oneness. The fastest red-hot racecar available will not bring you to the destination of enlightenment and liberation – JIVAN MUKTI. The pleasures enjoyed with the most gorgeous super model, male or female, will soon become tiresome and a burden.
As Krishna says, both pleasure and pain reside in the objects of the senses:
“… the pleasures that spring from sense impressions are sources of unhappiness, because they have beginnings and ends.” – Bhagavad Gita V.23
Another strange phenomenon of the Kali Yuga is the externalization of faith to such an extreme that people became obsessed and crazed with their individual belief systems. For 1000s of years now human beings have, in the name of their various interpretations of God, inflicted endless stupid destructive wars on each other – mass murder, torture, theft, and slavery all in the name of God!
When you realize that God is within each and every man woman & child, the idea of forcing any religion upon another is the height of absurdity!
Corrupt priests have been the willing accomplices to such heinous conflicts. They often became the imaginative torturers of non-believers and even sold tickets-to-heaven in the form of ‘indulgences’ to the rich, to line their own pockets, and build enormous, however lovely, cathedrals and temples while many of the common people remained perpetually close to starvation.
The Age of Confusion is mobbed by – yes, confusion! Practically everything you have ever read is clouded over by the miasma of Kali Yuga fog. As the saying goes: History is written by the conquerors – while the loser’s side of the story is routinely forgotten.
When you think about it, throughout most of written history all the great works of Art are the symbols of propaganda bought and paid for by ruling tyrants and religions seeking to dominate the world’s populations. Just ask Leonardo da Vinci who worked for the likes of Cesare Borgia, or Michelangelo who labored under the iron hand of a Vatican priest. Today’s artists are often answerable to the power of big money from the multinational corporations that own our world.
Even the wonderful descriptions of enlightenment that give us all hope were not experienced in the density of time we currently are living in. With no disrespect intended, it occurs to one that Lao Tzu, Jesus, and Buddha did not have to fight off chemtrails, microwaves, endocrine disrupting chemicals, or childhood television programming!
These days, in the Twilight of the Kali Yuga, it’s the Razor’s Edge – every step of the way Home.
Knowledge of our essential Oneness is hard to come by in the Kali Yuga. Beneath the curtain of multiplicity – there is only ONE! This means that behind the apparent diversity of billions of individuals living on planet Earth, they are all only One. All are the ONENESS.
For those of you who have remembered past lives, you may have noticed a striking perplexing similarity in the basic character of each life. There may be certain repeating flaws and compulsions, traits or qualities that you begin notice have shown up over and over in lifetime after lifetime. You may be a high priest in Atlantis, or a dancing slave girl in 8th century Kashmir – but there is a pattern that continues throughout all your lives. This is because the genes in your current physical body are the latest ‘product’ of a long line of many bodies, lineages. You have access to the memories contained within the DNA of the body you currently inhabit.
It is as if the Creator generates certain rays or waveforms, which contain qualities of expression that remain in the genes throughout the cycles of time. As time descends down through the yugas further and further into density and ‘apparent’ solidification, ever more variations of expression are created, such as habits, impulses, likes & dislikes, etc. etc.
But underneath all this temporal multiplicity is the Oneness that we all are: meaning you and me, factory workers in China and the farmers of rural India, the world leaders and corporate tyrants, the Aborigines in Australia and the Pigmy tribes in Africa. We are all ONENESS beneath the temporal illusory Curtain of Multiplicity. This knowledge of Oneness has been hidden from us in the Kali Yuga, but once you truly Realize the God-within, you will Become that which you always have been.
The floodgates of Knowledge and Love will open – and you will never be the same. You will never be able look at another human being without compassion and you will never again judge them – for you will KNOW that YOU ARE THEM! As you judge them, so you judge and condemn yourself. And it turns out that as harrowing, dreadful and boring as the Kali Yuga is – in fact it is the fast lane to God Realization. The intensity of the Kali Yuga pressures you to WAKE UP!
Time does not exist outside the temporal illusory holographic matrix. Thus the Four Cycles of Time are simultaneous as are all your so-called ‘past’ lives.
Acceptance of the theory of the Cycles of Time might lead you to a sort of complacent resignation. After all, if we are ineluctably snared in the frequencies of confusion – then why bother? Because what is really exciting about the Kali Yuga is the understanding that in fact it is the easiest cycle to Remember who you are. The end of the Kali Yuga is a particularly favorable period to pursue true knowledge.
“Some will attain wisdom in a short time, for the merits acquired in one year during the Treta Yuga can be obtained in one day in the age of Kali.” - [Shiva Purana, A. Danielou]
45. Hence during the Kali longevity, strength, and features become less and less. Men attain perfection within a short time.
46-47. What is gained by the practice of dharma for a year in the Treta Yuga is attained by the practice of it for a month in the Dvapara Yuga. In Kali an intelligent devotee attains the same in a day by practicing Dharma strenuously. - [Linga Purana, Section1, Chapter 40]
It’s a Cosmic Bargain Sale of sorts! Therefore, take up the challenge to Remember who you are! Do not give in! So, the Darkside is fulfilling its own kind of dharma, doing its job of spreading the hand of tyranny over the planet and poisoning everything in its wake. What will you do? In these moments of challenge, of sorrow and of awakening consciousness, how will you behave? Can you find courage within yourself and compassion for others? Can you master the divine detachment that comes from knowing that what is unfolding is the grand Cosmic Design. Can you remember that every one and everything is God, Oneness – and this ONE is you.
You are this world, and you are the Love that breathes this temporal illusory holographic matrix out into multiplicity and inhales it back into quiescence – and back out again, eon after eon after eon. World without end! This universe is here for us all to play in. Surely, when you look at your life or perhaps many lives, in spite of all the pain, you do recognize the grand beauty of Creation.
Thus the question is what will you do now in this intensified exciting moment? And are you ready to move on into one of the 1000s of other universes – some without polarities or form or even time – all waiting, inviting you to come to yet another magnificent adventure in consciousness.
Symptoms of the Kali Yuga
Writing itself is a symptom of the Kali Yuga. Human beings have been living on planet Earth for 100s of 1000s of years before we have any record of the written word. From the Sanskrit texts the Vishnu Purana and the Linga Purana:
- Thieves will become kings, and kings will be the thieves.
- Rulers will confiscate property and use it badly. They will cease to protect the people.
- Base men who have gained a certain amount of learning (without having the virtues necessary for its use) will be esteemed as sages.
- There will be many displaced persons, wandering from one country to another.
- Predatory animals will be more violent.
- Fetuses will be killed in the wombs of their mothers.
- People will prefer to choose false ideas.
- No one will be able to trust anyone else.
- People will be envious.
- There will be many children born whose life expectancy is no more than 16 years.
- People suffering from hunger and fear will take refuge in underground shelters.
- Young girls will do trade in their virginity.
- The god of clouds will be inconsistent in the distribution of the rains.
- Shopkeepers will run dishonest businesses.
- There will be many beggars and unemployed people.
- Everyone will use hard and vulgar language.
- Men will devote themselves to earning money; the richest will hold power.
- The state leaders will no longer protect the people but, through taxes, will appropriate all wealth.
- Water will be lacking.
- [And my favorite]: Pre-cooked food will be readily available!
The fact that our food supply contains very little nutrition and is full of toxins reveals a great deal to me about the frequencies of Time we live in.
(From the Sanskrit texts the Vishnu Purana and the Linga Purana; and also a remarkable book entitled, While the Gods Play: Shiva Oracles and Predictions on the Cycles of History & the Destiny of Mankind, by Alain Danielou; Inner Traditions International Ltd., paperback, 1985.)
About the Author
V. Susan Ferguson is the author of Inanna Returns, Inanna Hyper-Luminal; her own commentary on the Bhagavad Gita and the Shiva Sutras; and Colony Earth & the Rig Veda. Her website is Metaphysical Musing.
This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.
Last I wrote about Linux I summarized my findings from my research into the distributions of Linux with the longest-term stability and best customizability. I also looked at the variety of architectures (i.e. older hardware, older mac’s, etc.) on which these distributions could run.
I started with 12 distros and then narrowed them down to my top 7, mostly eliminating newer, more unstable, or less user-friendly distributions, such as Arch Linux, which, while popular, does not have a graphic installer, meaning you must know how to decipher the code and what to type into the console in order to get it installed in the first place.
The top 7 I ended up with were what I called the Most Extropian Linux Distributions available. They are resilient to internal (political) and external (economic and security) threats or disturbances. They are open and have strong communities of support. They are likely to last a long time and make it easy for new users to transition into Linux. They also play nicely with others and do all their homework daily. They are, in reverse order:
7. Slackware Linux (because it is old and still popular)
6. Puppy Linux (because it is small and can be run effectively from a USB stick)
5. Linux Mint (because it is popular, beautiful, and easy)
4. CentOS (because it is rock-solid and supported for up to 10 years)
3. Debian (because of its huge community, myriad customization options and supported architectures)
2. Fedora (because it is popular, beautiful, versatile, and fairly easy)
1. openSUSE (because it is easy, beautiful, popular, well-supported, and KDE-tastic*!)
Where I am at now in regards to this list is not much different from when I first summarized all the above-mentioned research I did. At this point I am making determinations of which desktop to invest my time in mastering — both for myself and for the purpose of being able to recommend an easy-to-use and nice-looking distro/desktop to my family and friends. You see, I have many family members with ailing PC’s. I have a friend with a PowerPC Mac that hardly runs a thing, and a grandfather with an old XP dinosaur. Both of their machines could be reinvented by utilizing any one of the above distributions (although I have serious doubts about my ever helping non-techie acquaintances to install Slackware or Puppy Linux). I will most likely push CentOS, Debian, Fedora, or openSUSE. While Linux Mint is great, as I’ve discussed, I worry about their small development team and their dependence on Ubuntu (and its mother-corp Canonical).
I have four distros in mind. Of these I have tried only Fedora (either as a hard-install or virtualized), and it’s been a while since I last touched them. I have my sources for reviews, however, namely Linux Outlaws, Everyday Linux, and Going Linux (the audio podcasts). I listen to these podcasts everyday driving to and from work in my commute and also read a wide assortment of Linux-related news from Hacker News, Slashdot, and Reddit.
With my current knowledge I lean towards Debian and openSUSE the most as my likely Top Two recommendations for friends and family. I love how Fedora 18 and 19 look. I also love CentOS’s 10-year support cycle — it is simply amazing. What I cannot get behind completely with Fedora is its rapid release cycle of only 18 months. The support term is concomitantly too short, around 12-13 months. CentOS is solid but looks a bit clunky and is a bit behind the times with many of its preinstalled packages, however, so I still hesitate about it too, sadly.
Debian and openSUSE, on the other hand, have 2-to-3-year support cycles. They both also support PowerPC processors (old mac’s), and of course old PC’s! They both offer multiple desktop options: GNOME, KDE, and XFCE at least. Also, both have very large development communities or dev teams. Debian’s default desktop is GNOME (although you can download a pre-wrapped version with either KDE or XFCE as well as LXDE). I will most likely use KDE or GNOME as they are the best known, most popular, and best supported desktop environments. openSUSE, inversely, comes by default with KDE but can be downloaded locked-and-loaded with GNOME or XFCE too.
“When Truth Is Treason” — From Community Christian Church in Springfield, MO. (16:44 runtime)
War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.
“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” — George Orwell
“It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.” — Voltaire
“The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And even if he is not romantic personally he is apt to spread discontent among those who are.” — H.L. Mencken
“A wise prince will seek means by which his subjects will always and in every possible condition of things have need of his government, and then they will always be faithful to him.” — Niccolo Machiavelli
“If you think of yourselves as helpless and ineffectual, it is certain that you will create a despotic government to be your master. The wise despot, therefore, maintains among his subjects a popular sense that they are helpless and ineffectual.” — Frank Herbert
“Public opinion, because of the tremendous urge to conformity in gregarious animals, is less tolerant than any system of law.” — George Orwell
“One certain effect of war is to diminish freedom of expression. Patriotism becomes the order of the day, and those who question the war are seen as traitors, to be silenced and imprisoned.” — Howard Zinn
“If those in charge of our society — politicians, corporate executives, and owners of press and television — can dominate our ideas, they will be secure in their power. They will not need soldiers patrolling the streets. We will control ourselves.” — Howard Zinn
“Threats to freedom of speech, writing and action, though often trivial in isolation, are cumulative in their effect and, unless checked, lead to a general disrespect for the rights of the citizen.” — George Orwell
“The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history.” — George Orwell
“Think you of the fact that a deaf person cannot hear. Then, what deafness may we not all possess? What senses do we lack that we cannot see and cannot hear another world all around us?” — Frank Herbert
“Respect for the truth comes close to being the basis for all morality.” — Frank Herbert
“Where you stand depends on where you sit.” — Nelson Mandela
TRUTH = TREASON = TERRORISM
FOSS or F/OSS is free and open-source software. Good examples you will know include Firefox (which used to be Netscape Navigator), VLC Media Player, the GIMP (a free Photoshop alternative), Linux (and the 1000′s of variations — or distributions — of this operating system that are out in the wild), WordPress Blogging Software, and OpenOffice or LibreOffice (both free alternatives to the Microsoft Office suite).
Allow me to revel for a second in the beauty of millions of volunteers working together from around the world to build free and open-source (and awesome) alternatives to the profit-driven, privacy-abusive, user-patronizing, security-lax, and design-arbitrary Corporate Operating Systems of the Modern World, namely: Windows and Mac OSX.
Here goes: Linux, along with Wikipedia, Wikileaks, the Bitcoin Crowd, Anonymous, Firefox, Diaspora*, and the Occupy Movement may just represent the pinnacle of human cultural development as it stands in the 21st century. That is, at its core, it (Linux) has Freedom, Respect for the dignity of individual humans and human communities, Love and the love of Art and Aesthetics, and Truth as both its mode of operation and its end goal (product, in this case). Both path and destination are glorious. What does Microsoft want from you? Servitude. Apple? Your Soul. And if we look at the other fields I’ve jacked into the equation here, what does Chrome want from you — being another semi-open-source browser with great design and functionality? Your Data, of course. All your data are belong to us. Linux is divergent; counter-culture. Eventually, hopefully, it will be the new norm for you and me.
With these idealistic ends in mind I’ve decided to go all out and bring my best Thrivenotes-y analysis of the top 10 Linux Distributions to you, dear reader, in the hopes that it will help you consider your options, firstly, and secondly, know where to start for when you decide that you’ve had enough of Big Brother Data Corp and Their Friends.
First off, let’s give us a definition here, shall we?
What is Linux? Surely our friend Wikipedia can answer that!
This from the Simple English Version:
Linux or GNU/Linux is a free and open source software operating system for computers. The operating system is a collection of the basic instructions that tell the electronic parts of the computer what to do and how to work. Free and open source software (FOSS) means that everyone has the freedom to use it, see how it works, and change it.
What does it do?
It basically allows you to do all the things you would normally do with a computer. Go online, check your email, organize your photos, write letters and documents, create art, play videogames, listen to music, etc., etc..
What doesn’t it do?
Linux is all about free software. With that said, some types of Linux are (by design) not very good at using proprietary software, such as Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop. With that said, there are some pretty kick-ass (as in free, as in beer) alternatives, namely: OpenOffice or LibreOffice, and GIMP or Inkscape.
What are the most popular flavors — or types — of Linux?
Ubuntu is the name most people who’ve heard of Linux will recognize. It is amongst the best known. It is, however, the LAST flavor of Linux that I would recommend. Canonical, the company that creates it, seems to have, by default, set it up so that it will share with the company (and any other 3rd parties it deems business-worthy) what you are doing on your computer, what you are searching for (on your own computer), and possibly more. Frankly, Ubuntu makes open-source look bad. Open-source, and Linux as a whole, is all about respecting user privacy and user needs. Canonical (and Ubuntu by extension) have changed the way they do business in a fundamental way by making this data-sharing an opt-out feature. For that, I strike them from my list.
Let’s get on with it. What else is out there?
So so much!
What if we just did a simple little search for the top ten distributions?
Sounds good to me. According to distrowatch.com, during the last year, the top-viewed (read-about) Linux distributions/flavors have been:
- Linux Mint
- Arch Linux
- Puppy Linux
Honorable mentions, which have also been in the top 10 in the past 2 years at some point are:
- Manjaro Linux
What should we look at now?
What about Google Search Results for each of these?
OK! Here are our Google Search Results (# of Results) for each of the 12 Linux Distros:
1. Ubuntu – 189.0 million results – Most Recent Version: 13 “Raring Ringtail” – TPB Seeders: ~95
2. Debian – 81.2 million results – Most Recent Version: 7 “Wheezy” – TPB Seeders: ~25
3. Fedora – 55.8 million results – Most Recent Version: 18 – TPB Seeders: ~40
4. CentOS – 38.5 million results – Most Recent Version: 6 – TPB Seeders: ~70
5. Linux Mint – 23.2 million results – Most Recent Version: 14 – TPB Seeders: ~55
6. OpenSUSE – 14.2 million results – Most Recent Version: 12.3 – TPB Seeders: ~30
7. Arch Linux – 11 million results – Most Recent Version: a13-2 – TPB Seeders ~3
8. Slackware Linux – 8.2 million results – Most Recent Version: 14 – TPB Seeders ~15
9. Puppy Linux – 3.8 million results – Most Recent Version: 5 – TPB Seeders ~10
10. Mageia – 1.9 million results – Most Recent Version: 3 beta 4 – TPB Seeders ~40
11. PCLinuxOS – 1.5 million results – Most Recent Version: 2013 – TPB Seeders ~9
12. Manjaro Linux – 383,000 results – Most Recent Version: 0.8.2 – TPB Seeders ~1
Ok, so what do Google Results tell us?
They are an indicator of the popularity of something, but more importantly, this tells me that Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, and the others on top are more likely to have a lot of users and a lot of forums and Q&A and info-sharing communities on the web. This is important to me as I want the most community-supported, most stable, and most accessible Linux distribution possible. Longevity, commonality, and stability are all good extropian (negentropic) criteria to consider. What is the Linux Distribution least likely to disappoint at some point in the future? I believe that this is answerable (roughly) though these surveys I’ve completed: Distrowatch, Google, and #’s of TPB Seeders.
What do the TPB Seeder numbers mean?
Once you decide to get a Linux Distribution to try it out (I recommend VirtualBox for testing them out without replacing your current operating system). Anyways, once you decide you want a specific distribution, one of the fastest ways to get it (download it) is through the bit-torrent protocol. Peer-to-peer downloading, that is. The Pirate Bay is one such place where you could get a torrent file of a distro you want. Also, the more that people are seeding that distro, the stronger a sign it is to me that it is a good one. People don’t (tend to) seed crap (very often), so to speak.
Now to aggregate a bit…
We don’t want Ubuntu. Doesn’t respect privacy.
Long-standing champions in the Linux arena are: Debian, Slackware, Fedora, Linux Mint, CentOS, openSUSE, Arch Linux, and Puppy Linux, as far as I can gather. PCLinuxOS is new to me. We can look into it a bit, but right now let’s focus on eliminating some of those that remain, either because they are too new or because few people are or have been talking about them.
Mageia and Manjaro, you’re out too. No offense.
What are we left with?
4. Linux Mint
6. Arch Linux
8. Puppy Linux
That’s based on Google. What about distrowatch page views again?
1. Linux Mint
5. Arch Linux
8. Puppy Linux
Now let’s remove Arch Linux, because although I’m sure it’s great, it is known for difficult installation.
Also, PCLinuxOS, I’m taking you out of the picture for now, not that I won’t come back to you (someday), but we all have limited time here and you only have 1.5 million Google results. You’re getting there, I’d say… ; )
Now we have 7 to look at more closely. These are all seemingly solid, easy-to-access, community-supported, and stable options. Note: I have re-inserted the TPB Seeder “Scores” here…
Linux Mint – TPB: 55
Fedora – TPB: 40
Debian – TPB: 25
openSUSE – TPB: 30
CentOS – TPB: 70
Puppy Linux – TPB: 10
Slackware - TPB: 15
All have decent numbers of seeders in my view, especially considering that Pirate Bay torrents is not the primary path most linux users would tread to obtain their system images or live CD’s. Most people go to debian.org, for example, or fedoraproject.org, to download directly the distribution they want. It’s just an added bonus in my mind the notion that enough people want it to be rapidly downloadable through torrents (which is amongst the fastest methods of file transfer overall) that they themselves upload and then seed those torrents for you and me. It’s pretty cool. So consider them bonus points — Bonus TPB points, let’s say.
Now let’s organize them by bonus TPB points.
1. CentOS – 70
2. Linux Mint – 55
3. Fedora – 40
4. openSUSE – 30
5. Debian – 25
6. Slackware – 15
7. Puppy Linux – 10
Now we’ll talk about each one a bit. It is nice to know a little about the roots of each, the developers that develop each, the desktop environments offered, and the support life cycle, among other things. I will give a break down for each distribution now then, starting with the candidate I am least likely to pick as my main, everyday, desktop Linux distribution — and ending with my top choices based on my research and experience so far.