17
Aug

How to Stay Safe Online and Enhance Your Privacy While Using Windows 10

by adminadam in articles, education

Use this guide to learn how to:

  • Limit the data that Microsoft collects while you use your computer
  • Limit the data that Microsoft shares with 3rd parties
  • Turn off Wifi Sense to prevent your passwords being shared
  • Set up Firefox with 6 essential add-ons to enhance your internet security and privacy
    • Encrypt your data connections while browsing the internet
    • Block ads and prevent trackers from spying on you online
  • Use a VPN to keep your confidential information safe when connecting to public Wifi networks

Microsoft’s Windows 10 is polished and exciting and new, but it ships with some rather appalling default settings that leak a lot of information about the user, including leaking the Wifi passwords that you use to the people around you.

Use these guides to rein it in:

THE EASY WAY — WITH A COUPLE DISADVANTAGES

Use DoNotSpy 10 to easily access privacy and security features that are a bit hard to navigate to normally in Windows 10.

With it you will be able to do all of this and more:

  • Disable telemetry, biometrics, handwriting data disclosure
  • Deactivate and reset Cortana
  • Activate postponing upgrades
  • Stop and reset advertising ID’s
  • Disable app access to the camera and microphone
  • Disable WiFi Sense
  • Disable automatic Windows Updates
  • Deactivate OneDrive
  • Disable Automatic Driver Updates

You can access it all from one interface instead of dozens of obtuse, tucked-away locations in Windows.

DoNotSpy10-screenshot

Click to download DoNotSpy 10

The downside?

DoNotSpy 10 comes pre-bundled with OpenCandy, a kind of AdSense-like app recommendation engine for Windows 10 that tracks your use of and installation of other apps. If you check OpenCandy’s FAQ, they do claim that the program uninstalls itself after a couple of days at most, after it’s checked if you installed anything it recommended. Also, they offer a ‘clean-up tool‘ (like an uninstaller, more or less) for if you want to be sure it’s gone. So if you trust them or don’t mind the much-more-tempered data sharing a la OpenCandy, then I recommend this as your easy option for enhancing Windows 10 privacy and security.

Next, as noted in BGR.com’s guide to stopping Windows 10 spying:

You’ll still need to go online to Microsoft’s site and opt out of the company’s invasive advertising tracking features. For complete instructions on how to do that, click here.

THE NOT-SO-EASY-BUT-MORE-COMPREHENSIVE WAY

Thanks to Reddit user C-ron for this guide:

First, if you’ve haven’t installed Windows 10 yet but are planning to, compete these steps:

Before/During Installation

If you’ve already installed it, don’t worry. There is still hope. Proceed from here:

After Installation

  • Head to Settings > Privacy, and disable everything, unless there are some things you really need.
  • While within the Privacy page, go to Feedback, select Never in the first box, and Basic in the second box.
  • Head to Settings > Update and Security > Advanced Options > Choose how updates are delivered, and turn the first switch off.
  • Disable Cortana by clicking the Search bar/icon.
  • (Optional) Disable web search in Search by going to Settings, and turning off Search online and include web results.
  • Change the name of your PC by going to Start (or hitting the Windows key), typing About PC, and clicking Rename PC.

From here things get a bit more complex. Venture down into the rabbit hole at your own risk:

Slightly Complex

  • Open up the Command Prompt by launching cmd as an administrator, and enter the following:
    • sc delete DiagTrack
    • sc delete dmwappushservice
    • echo “” > C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Diagnosis\ETLLogs\AutoLogger\AutoLogger-Diagtrack-Listener.etl
  • Open up the Group Policy Editor by launching gpedit.msc as an administrator. Go through Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Data Collection and Preview Builds. Double click Telemetry, hit Disabled, then apply. NOTE: This only truly works in the Enterprise edition, but the final step provides a decent enough workaround for Pro users.
  • While still in the Group Policy Editor, go through Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > OneDrive, double click Prevent the usage of OneDrive for file storage, hit Enabled, then apply.
  • While still in the Group Policy Editor, go through Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Defender, double click Turn Off Windows Defender, hit Enabled, then apply.
  • Open up the Registry Editor by launching regedit as an administrator. Go through HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\DataCollection, select AllowTelemetry, change its value to 0, then apply.
  • First, download the Take Ownership tweak and enable it. Then, head to the Hosts File by going through C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\Etc, take ownership of the hosts file, and add all of the IPs from this page into the file

Part III is up to you, but I highly recommend adding Firefox and VLC player at the very least:

Up To You

  • Replace Microsoft Edge/Internet Explorer with Firefox, Chromium, or any forks/variations of them.
  • Replace Windows Media Player with VLC or MPC-HC
  • Replace Groove Music with Foobar2000, Winamp, or MusicBee
  • Replace Photos/Windows Photo Viewer with ImageGlass or IrfanView.

Now let’s disable Windows Wifi Sense, the Swiss Cheese of Wifi Managers. If we don’t, Windows will allow your friends and your friends’ friends, and your friends’ friends’ friends to get your Wifi passwords without you even being notified. Crazy, huh?

Sadly, this step requires that you dig into your internet router’s settings a bit so that we can get your router to be ‘opted-out’ of Windows’ “Wondrous Wifi Password Sharing Scheme”.

  • First, find your router’s default IP Address so that you can log into it. If 192.168.1.1 doesn’t work, find yours here.
  • Next, log in to your router. If you don’t know the default username and password (usually admin, admin), try this list of defaults. (If you had already changed your router username and password, good for you! Use those to log in.)
  • Once you’ve gained access to your router control panel, find your SSID (the name of your network) and change it. You’ll need to append “_optout” to the current network name. (AdamsHouse changes to AdamsHouse_optout, for instance.) This prevents Microsoft logging the router’s password to its database.
  • Next, in Windows 10, go to Settings and select Network and Internet. Head over to WiFi and find Manage WiFi Settings. From there you can disable Wifi Sense.wi-fi-win10-2

wi-fi-win10-3

  • Finally, uncheck all of the boxes to prevent sharing of networks via the services listed.

wi-fi-win10-4


Now that your operating system is better locked down, how about upgrading your browser?

Firefox is the most extensible, consistently fastest, most privacy-enhancing browser out there.

firefox-flexible
Anytime I set up a new machine, the first program I install is Firefox, with these 6 Privacy and Security Enhancing Add-ons:

  1. HTTPS Everywhere: This forces all web pages to encrypt the connection.
  2. uBlock Origin: A lightweight ad-blocker with a simple toggle (on/off) button that is placed on your toolbar.
  3. Self-Destructing Cookies: Allows cookies only for as long as is strictly necessary for sites to function properly.
  4. TrackMeNot: Sends randomized queries to popular search engines to obfuscate your web browsing and searching habits.
  5. Bluehell Firewall: A lightweight blocker for trackers and ads with no set-up required.
  6. DuckDuckGo Search Engine: The search engine that doesn’t track you; sets DDG as the default search engine.

After installing Firefox, I usually recommend that users further enhance their privacy by having Firefox automatically delete 3rd party cookies upon exit, along with only accepting 3rd party cookies from visited sites. Here are the steps to complete this, followed by a screenshot of what yours should look like when you’re done:

  1. Click on the Menu button — the three horizontal bars stacked on top of each other: ≡
  2. Click on ‘Options’
  3. Click on ‘Privacy’
  4. From the History drop down menu, select ‘Use custom settings for history’
  5. Verify that ‘Accept cookies from sites’ is checked
  6. In the ‘Accept third-party cookies:’ drop down menu, select ‘From visited’
  7. Under ‘Keep until:’, select ‘I close Firefox’

firefoxprivacysettings

Now your Firefox is primed and ready to safely lift you into Cyberspace!

mozilla-firefox-space


One last thing you can do to protect your confidential information whenever your browse the internet on this now-more-secure machine is to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network). These encrypt all data connections to your PC and route the data through an off-site server to give you an anonymized/obfuscated IP address. This protects your data and keeps your whereabouts private as well.

My VPN of choice has got to be Private Internet Access. I like them because:

  • They accept gift-cards (target, starbucks, walmart, etc.) and bitcoin for anonymous payments,
  • They never keep any user logs (of which sites you’ve been to),
  • They charge only $39.95 for a whole year of service, and
  • You can use it on all your devices simultaneously!

Anytime I log onto my gmail, access my online banking sites, blog from a coffee shop, etc., I use my VPN. Check them out — you won’t regret it!


Browse and compute safely now! And hit me up if you have any questions:

84adam [at] thrivenotes [dot] com
10
Aug

Reclaim Your Freedoms

by adminadam in articles

Peter Schiff, chairman of SchiffGold, CEO of Euro Pacific Capital, Inc, and host of The Peter Schiff Show, fearlessly ventured into the heart of Liberty Plaza during the Occupy Wall Street protests to try and find common ground with the people there. What I love most about this video is not Peter’s bravery in facing the 99% as a more-or-less unapologetic member of the 1%, rather I admire his tenacity and consistency in the conversations with folks who seem to believe, and in fact are likely to have been pigeon-holed as believing that the main reason for the inequality and injustice in our country lies in corporations taking in too big of profits. So as you watch know that there is some oversimplification going on. But ask yourself: Is it the Occupy protesters who are engaging in oversimplification, or is it the media that is oversimplifying their arguments? (I’ll give you a hint: Not all of the Occupy protesters are anti-capitalist!)

As Peter explains, corporate taxes are always passed onto consumers or taken out of workers’ pay. Thus, corporate taxes discourage growth and development in the economy. Personally, I believe growth and development in the economy are a good thing.

Unhindered growth allows for innovation. Just look at the smartphone in your pocket. Any state-run phone company would produce half the product for twice the cost, and it would take twice as long at that! In 1913, there was only one telephone that you could get, and you couldn’t even buy it; you had to rent it from AT&T, which was a state-regulated monopoly.

How would you like to use a 1920's Western Electric Oval Telephone and Handset? Remember: You can't own it; you can only rent it.

How would you like to use a 1920’s Western Electric Oval Telephone and Handset? Remember: You can’t own it; you can only rent it.

Fortunately for us, the Market always finds a backdoor or a workaround to allow innovation to continue. It’s just that sometimes these black-or-grey-market innovators find themselves in court for their unsanctioned attempts to increase our choices and our freedoms.

In the telephone market, competition began creeping in in 1956, when the courts overruled an FCC ban on Tom Carter’s Hush-a-Phone, a device which snapped on to a telephone and made it possible for the user to speak in a whisper. That was perhaps the first step in the dissolution of the telephone monopoly.

The Hush-a-Phone decision paved the way for 110 and 300 bit per second acoustically-coupled computer terminals, like the one shown below.

AcousticallyCoupledModem

One of the very first modems! Read more at: som.csudh.edu’s Telecom History

Carter eventually won a decision against AT&T that allowed customers to connect any device to the AT&T network, without the previously required “Protective Coupler”. That was the Carterfone Decision of 1968. This lead to today’s near total deregulation of telephone equipment in the US, something on which the rest of the world followed suit. The communications regulatory bodies in those countries clearly saw the benefits of allowing their citizens to connect new devices which allowed for both voice and data to be transmitted.

Without this kind of deregulation, it’s possible the Internet would have remained a slowly-moving, bureaucratically-controlled project, restricted to use by the oligarchs in government and large corporations, and a select few who could afford to pay for access to the overpriced, shoddy service they would have certainly provided.

By contrast, in our modern-day, largely capitalistic internet ecosystem — although tempered by some degree of cronyism — we now have reliable, high-performance, internet-connected, bluetooth/wifi/NFC-enabled, secure and sleek smartphones for as low as $35, not to mention the infrastructure (internet backbone, up to 13 Gbps) on which to operate them. Don’t believe me on the price? Just check out what Mozilla has done with their Firefox OS phones, meant for emerging markets like Brazil, India, and the Philippines.

The Cherry Mobile Ace Firefox OS Phone featured below was released in December of 2014 for 1499 PHP — Philippine Pesos — approximately $33! But wait, it gets better. Their sale price was 999 PHP, only $22 for a fully-useable, well-designed smartphone!

Personally, I want as many people in the world as possible to be able to purchase and own devices such as the Cherry Mobile Ace. It is a form of empowerment through technology that nary a socialist would promote if they understood that only through deregulation can such things come to pass. They would have to relinquish political power and their thirst for it in order to allow such empowering trends to fully develop. I truly admire anyone with the courage to let go of their vice-grip attachments to such delusions of grandeur as “empowering the masses” by means of appropriating other people’s hard earned money.

Enterprising Entrepreneurs Empower Everyone

Consider what you can do because of Market Innovation and Market Innovators:

  • Phone and text your friends, families, and business partners for free using things like WhatsApp
  • Send, receive, and manage your money without a bank account or a government ID or anyone’s permission using Bitcoin and a Bitcoin wallet app (there are many options!)
  • Record videos and take pictures
  • Mix and remix almost any kind of media
  • Share and sync files with anyone
  • Learn new skills on Khan Academy and through MOOC’s (massive online open courses)
  • Get weather alerts
  • Get important health information and even diagnose diseases
  • Call on your neighbors to defend or aid you in times of crisis through apps like Peacekeeper
  • Navigate to new areas easily
  • Give and get rides through Uber
  • Rent out your home with Airbnb
  • And so much more!

All of this on a $22 device. And whether we ever stop to think about it or appreciate it, the credit is due to Free Market Capitalism: People being incentivized to work and provide valuable products and services to one another of their own volition. People doing business without being hindered by regulations or sucked dry by the tax man for some vaguely-defined and for-all-intents-and-purposes bankrupt social contract. Just look at our public schooling systems, modeled as they were after Nazi Germany to encourage compliance, complacency, and the production of anti-intellectual, subservient factory workers. Part of our “Social Contract” is that we are forced through taxes to support keeping children locked down in destitute and soul-crushing environs for hours on end until they are 18 years old. It just drives me nuts. It’s why I celebrate, again, the creeping in of some forms of subversive innovation, creative destruction a la charter schools, for instance, or people that manage to provide a good learning experience at home for their children. It’s why I celebrate kids who do the bare minimum in school while finding ways to pursue their passions and careers independently in the few hours they are left each day. Innovation is not commanded, nor is learning imparted through coercion. To cite Plato:

Bodily exercise, when compulsory, does no harm to the body; but knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.

So who is responsible for this mess? The lobbyists and the lobbied are quite suspect. Increasingly, for me, the activists and the politically-active mainstream are too, though. What ‘revolution’ can this incest between the rulers and the ruled conceivably spawn after all? Is the system ‘working’? Have things gotten tangibly better because of the state? It’s a question not-often explored; more often than not it’s denied or dismissed. It seems, instead, that the assumptions and presuppositions of the state are reinforced at every turn. It’s all about 6- and 8-year political dynasties, and our blind faith in the process: We can fix it, next time we’ll win, it’s their fault not ours, and on and on.

It takes a brave and steeled soul indeed to lock eyes with the system and keep on walking. To walk on, to traverse that mental landscape is to say, “Democracy has failed”. And let’s be honest, it has. It’s time to move on. Plutocrats and Peasants is what we are. To be a politician is to be a bought-and-sold man. And to believe so fervently in the potential of another politician, another movement, to pin our hopes on some new Inflatable Jesus Figure each election cycle, are we not succumbing to Uncle Tom Syndrome? I have begun to view and treat Democracy Lovers as I do 12th-Man Football Fanatics. Let them believe they are making a difference, but avoid them like the plague at dinner parties. You’re better off pitching ice to Eskimos.

Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone. — Ayn Rand

It’s very frustrating living in a world where Anarchy is a dirty word, thought to mean property-destruction by Angsty Anarcho-Communists, and where Democracy and Environmentalism are God and the infidels and iconoclasts are burned at the stake. We certainly have massive socioeconomic and ideological inertia propelling the prevailing, dysfunctional, political machine, but we also have a budding trend of disintermediation, divergent thinking, open-sourcing-of-everything, and a renewed optimism in the world.

It becomes apparent when looking at many of the volunteer-based projects which have benefited humanity, say Wikipedia, or the Linux Operating System. But there are True Capitalists who continue to raise the bar too: Elon Musk is one example. An electric car that goes 0-60 in three seconds, a rocket ship that can take off and land vertically, and a proposal for a “Hyperloop” vacuum-sealed, elevated, maglev transportation system that will ferry people from L.A. to San Francisco in half-an-hour — all from one man. Did I mention he plans to travel to Mars himself in one of his rockets? What an amazing icon, the likes of which Hank Rearden of Atlas Shrugged might choose to associate with from time to time (when he’s not crafting even better steel that is…). And then there’s the shadowy innovators, Satoshi Nakamoto, for instance. Gave the world Bitcoin, the payment protocol for the 5 Billion Unbanked of the World, plus a currency that is virtually (algorithmically) guaranteed to be a store of value better than gold — bless his/her heart!

There are other ways to pursue peace, order, and prosperity for our lands and our communities. The Wikipedia volunteers, Linux developers, Elon’s, and Satoshi’s of the world are building it in fact. By contrast, all statist systems, whether they be socialist, fascist, republican, or monarchistic, reek like last week’s trash. They rest upon the nullification and disenfranchisement of the individual, as opposed to his empowerment. To take from Ayn Rand again:

The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.

If I grow a company from the ground up, hire 100’s of people, a board of directors, offer stocks, and make a profit, am I evil? A popular idea in our world today is that yes, I am inherently evil, that profit is inherently exploitative of, most certainly, my employees, but likely the environment, and the rest of my society as well. What do people think is done with profits anyways? Surely they are never reinvested into R&D, or employee bonuses, or invested in other startups. No. Not a chance.

Check out Peter Schiff here pretending to be a democrat at the North Carolina DNC. What should be done about these evil corporate profits, he asks!

Profits incentivize and propel future business ventures. If you think profits are truly evil, then what you should probably do right now is this:

And while you’re at it, what are you reading this blog post on? Go ahead and destroy that device too if it’s not the iPhone that you just destroyed. Apple made over $50 Billion in profit last year. That’s pretty fucking evil, ain’t it?

Beyond this kind of baseless demonetization of profits, though, there is another oft-overlooked truth in our world. That is that businesses compete to buy labor. Our ignorance of this fact leads us to promote policies which are highly-destructive to individuals and other minorities: Minimum Wage Laws. Because markets go where labor is cheaper, artificially increasing “demand” (i.e. price) for labor does nothing more than push businesses out of your jurisdiction. “Edgar the Exploiter” is a lovely and heart-wrenching depiction of this effect, the result of our ignorance of basic economics:

Artificially raising labor costs through minimum wages hurts workers, particularly low-skill/impoverished/minority workers. I was against the $15 minimum wage law in Seattle for this reason; it gentrifies the service industry as soon as it is implemented so that eventually only “rich” college kids can get and keep their jobs — if they’re lucky, that is.

The best way to improve access to wealth, abundance, and social goods and services is not to loft idealistic legislation into the congressional fighting pits and hope it comes out on top so that you can mandate social progress. Remember: Innovation cannot be commanded. Instead, we need to stop limiting the market from providing these things to the people for a low cost. Additionally, quitting suppressing interest rates and propping up the economy via Federal Reserve Quantitative Easing would also help. As an example of this, consider: Wouldn’t it suck to win the Jackpot only to realize later that same day that so did the rest of the country and now your $50 million is roughly good for what used to be a $5 sandwich due to the sudden massive inflation?

In order to expedite the transition to a freer and more just world and route around the broken political system, we should continue along the more virtuous, more subversive, and more effective path of disintermediation, decentralization, and black-and-grey-market innovation. Examples of this path include:

  • Using OpenBazaar to buy/sell goods online in an uncensorable, pseudonymous, distributed marketplace with Bitcoin, the uncensorable, pseudonymous, distributed currency.
  • Using 3D printers in local Maker Spaces to print toys, tools, guns, etc. using open-source blueprints
  • Patronizing farmer’s markets and paying in cash or bitcoin
  • Working under the table

All social services, up-to-and-including Government itself can be decentralized and disintermediated. Taking advantage of any of these or the above opportunities will enhance social and economic opportunities for you and your community while enhancing your freedom:

  • Defense and Security can be procured locally through neighborhood-watch organizations, private security firms, and the Peacekeeper App. Private security markets would benefit from deregulation and increased Free-Market Competition first, however.
  • Charities and Health Care Sharing Ministries can provide the majority of health care coverage for communities, especially once their members are liberated from taxes. Also, mandatory, state-sanctioned health insurance requirements don’t help.
  • Smart Contracts written via the Bitcoin Protocol can be used to replace intermediaries in many levels of government, to rein in corruption, and to guarantee accountability.

Basically, do all that you can to engage in and promote voluntary exchange. And pull others into it. This is the most effective way of ‘agitating for change’, as the progressives would say, to deregulate industry and technology. This will, in turn, enrich the whole world.

free-the-market-free-the-world

Free the market; free the world.

Liberate the economy and the state will fade into irrelevance. We think the state is an institution of social service, that it’s there for our own good. But perhaps it’s not the morally-superior, altruistic conglomerate of thinking and resources that it’s made out to be. Murray Rothbard said it best in “What the State is Not”:

We are not the Government; the Government is not us. Society and the State are not the same thing. The rise of democracy has conflated the two further. Consider: If 70% of our democracy approved a measure to murder the remaining 30% it would technically be a democratic decision, justified by the internal rules of the philosophical framework. It would not be considered murder, however, as the ‘subjects’ of the state effectively are the State. Consider how in Nazi Germany the extermination of the Jews was a legal and government-sanctioned act. Statism projects that, as appendages of the state, the ‘murdered’ actually killed themselves. The system is full of such internal contradictions.

“Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

When we get down to it, the state is simply the institution occupying a given territorial area which has a monopoly on force and violence. If it commits some social good, then that is ancillary to its existence. The state need be nothing more. It exists through and because of coercion alone: The violent enforcement of the borders, the appropriation of the territorial residents’ wealth through taxation, and the metering out of pre-appropriated, universal human rights to its subjects via the legislature and the laughably-named ‘Justice System’.

Just like as in War, there are no Winners in Statism. It is a zero-sum game. One policy, one person, must come out on top. Compare it to Socialism’s theory of economics, which incorrectly posits that economic activity is a zero-sum game. Of course, if that were true in economics we would have no more value in the world than we did when only 1,000,000 humans roamed the Earth. It is silly to think of 7 billion people — and the product of all their activity — having no more worth than a measly million hunters and gatherers, don’t you think?

Ironic then, isn’t it, that so many Statists proclaim Capitalism to be a dead-end, when really the State is the one that’s dead in the water. Capitalism is a force for good; Statism a parasite. Free Market innovation is the reason we have a world of such wondrous stability and abundance. And luckily for us, there will always be people who wish to build and consume new and better things.

Let’s get the State out of the way. Engage in counter-economics. Obfuscate your wealth. Avoid taxes. Avoid the “Man’s Money”. State your preference for Bitcoin or barter. Shrink the State, or obviate it by innovating around it.

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. — Buckminster Fuller

The sooner you do — the sooner you opt-out and start participating in these new, disintermediated models of reality — the sooner we will all be free.

Let us hasten the demise of the State.


If you would like to further educate yourself in economics, Marginal Revolution University has a wonderful, free, and accessible course entitled “Everyday Economics“. (Yet another Capitalist Innovation; and yes, you can pay for more content later if you wish. It’s up to you!)

Contents of “Everyday Economics” include:

  • The notion of the Hockey Stick of Human Prosperity, a visualization of the explosive expansion of wealth in more recent human history
  • Increased life expectancy as a measure of human prosperity
  • Reduced mortality and increased average height, hygiene, sanitation, and technology as measures of human prosperity
  • The origins of prosperity, lessons from “The Wealth of Nations”, and other insights from Adam Smith
  • How wealth has shifted from being the exception to being the norm

We didn’t used to try to figure out what causes poverty, as we do today. We used to try to figure out what causes wealth. This was Adam Smith’s goal. And you can learn about it for free. Pretty swell, huh?


Please click the “Donate BTC” button up top or the green shield icon below to donate Bitcoin to me if you like my writing. In exchange I promise I’ll have a book someday that you can buy and read..!

11
Jul

Minimal Effective Stack

by adminadam in articles

The Stack

  1. Creatine
  2. Piracetam
  3. Modafinil
  4. Bacopa
  5. Rhodiola
  6. Lion’s Mane Mushroom
  7. Probiotics
  8. Fish Oil
  9. Nicotine Gum/Patches/E-Cig

Reasoning

A smaller stack is cheaper and more convenient to travel with. It’s also fast to prepare and consume. Here are the steps:

  1. If creatine and piracetam are in powdered form, mix with water (and perhaps sea salt) first thing in the morning and imbibe. If in tablet form, take in Step Two instead — perhaps still with sea salt. Salt really is key support for staying hydrated while on modafinil, and/or if you are doing a ketogenic diet. Creatine boosts executive function while piracetam enhances verbal fluidity, short-term memory, and focus.
  2. Drink more water with your modafinil and rhodiola. Modafinil boosts executive function and allows you to obliterate fatigue and physical exhaustion for up to 12 hours. Rhodiola is a super-herb from the Arctic regions of the world: Alaska, Canada, Siberia. It has been a treasured (and well-guarded) medicinal herb for millenia for its adaptogenic and resiliency-enhancing properties. As it may be somewhat stimulating, take it only in the morning.
  3. Wait a minute. Eat some fat (butter, bacon, avocado) — maybe with salt on it — and then proceed to step 4. Fat fuels your brain and aids in the absorption of nutrients and supplements, especially bacopa. Protein is good too, of course. Do not take bacopa on an empty stomach. It will give you nausea and diarrhea, I can guarantee it.
  4. Drink more water with your bacopa, lion’s mane, probiotics, and fish oil. Bacopa and lion’s mane both boost memory. Bacopa may act as a vasodilator (increasing cerebral bloodflow). Bacopa reduces cortisol and thus may make you sleepy. If so, you are advised to take it only in the evenings before bed. Lion’s mane mushrooms boost Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) and likely boost the immune system too, as most mushrooms are adaptogenic and confer their resiliency to us when we consume them. Probiotics and fish oil will make you smarter and happier as well (happy gut; happy mind). These provide healthy gut bacteria, healthy fats (omega 3’s, EPA/DHA), and vitamins A and D.
  5. Take a “smoke” break if you get sleepy after lunch. Nicotine — if you so choose to use it — may help you retain focus and boost cognitive function if you experience afternoon sleepiness, and is less prone than caffeine to disturb your sleep at night. I use the 2mg Nicotrol gum, cut in two. Usually one piece per day, two at most. If you are not used to nicotine, I recommend you spit out the gum or remove the patch as soon as you feel its effects. Should be a kind of bright buzzing stimulating energy in your brain after ~5 minutes of chewing the gum. If you overdo it be prepared to get dizzy and vomit. Start small and also watch for nicotine cravings.

Where to Buy, Dosages, Pro-Tips

  1. CREATINE — Creatine Monohydrate Micronized Powder from Powder City; BioCreatine Capsules from Natural Stacks. Take between 2.5 and 7.5 grams first thing in the morning. Note: BioCreatine has Himalayan salt in it; adjust morning ‘salting’ routine accordingly.
  2. PIRACETAM — Piracetam Powder (100g tub) from Powder City; Piracetam Capsules (1-month supply for $29.66 if you take x6 per day like me) from Powder City. You can take up to 10 grams a day of piracetam and feel no negative side effects. Lower LD50 than salt, apparently! I recommend 2-3 grams three times per day for optimal results.
  3. MODAFINIL — Modafinil/Provigil from ModUP.net (33% discount if you pay with bitcoin). Take 1/2 pill (100mg) if starting for the first time on modafinil. It can be quite intense and cause irritability, upset stomach, dehydration, and headaches if you take too much for your body or if you don’t stay hydrated and remember to eat. Remember to eat! Modafinil suppresses the appetite. Lasts around 12 hours. Does not usually prevent you from sleeping after 8 hours, although it may be difficult. You are advised to take 1/2 to 1 pill immediately upon waking. Then chug a gallon half-gallon of water — with salt!
  4. BACOPA — Bacopa Monnieri Capsules from Swanson Superior Herbs. Take bacopa with food. 250mg twice a day. Just once at night if you get too sleepy taking it during the day time.
  5. RHODIOLA — Rhodiola Rosea Capsules from NOW Foods. Take one per day upon waking.
  6. LION’S MANE MUSHROOM — Lion’s Mane Mushroom Capsules from Swanson Superior Herbs. Take one AM, one PM.
  7. PROBIOTICS — Primal Defense ULTRA Capsules from Garden of Life. Take 1-2 capsules per day.
  8. FISH OIL — Organic Lemon-Zest Fish Oil from Barlean’s; Cod Liver Oil Softgels from NOW Foods. Take 1 tbsp fish oil or 2 capsules cod liver oil per day.
  9. NICOTINE — 2mg Nicotine Gum from Nicotrol. Use as needed.

###

24
Jun

Bitcoin Will End the Nation State

by adminadam in articles, videos

Satoshi Nakamoto set in motion the unraveling of the nation state and the end of central banking — two closely related institutions that have directed history since history has been recorded. When we come to understand the economic and technological implications of bitcoin, we arrive at a somewhat startling yet undeniable conclusion: that bitcoin will end the nation state.

“We know what happened to organized religion in the wake of the gunpowder revolution. Technological developments created strong incentives to downsize religious institutions and lower their costs. A similar technological revolution is destined to downsize radically the nation-state early in the new millennium.”

– James Dale Davidson, William Rees-Mogg, The Sovereign Individual

Bitcoin as an Independent Economy

Many observers of bitcoin argue that its value needs to be pegged to a stable, conventional currency in order to assess its value. They claim that bitcoin is too volatile to be taken seriously, and thus, serves as only a novel financial innovation for moving money. What these observers’ fail to realize is that bitcoin does not need to be pegged to a national currency any more than the sun requires the gravitational pull of the earth. The sun has no concern for the deviations on the trajectory of the Earth just as bitcoin has no concern for the developments within national economies. Speculation is the only reason critics will argue that bitcoin needs to be pegged to a national unit of account, and for those actors, bitcoin cares not.

Many observers of bitcoin also argue that for the sake of adoption, bitcoin needs exchange businesses and ATMs in order to grow its user base and subsequently, its market capitalization. On top of these businesses, the conventional thinker will also argue that proper regulation needs to be enforced for the ‘good of the investor’. We certainly don’t want another episode of Mt.Gox do we? Although exchange businesses and ATMs certainly do serve to hasten the adoption process, they are not required for the expansion of the bitcoin economy. The mining process serves as the issuance authority. The miners are the employees of the network, and thus the true citizens of the bitcoin digital economy.

Bitcoin is a [Nationally] Untaxable Money Supply

Let us begin with a simple premise: you cannot levy taxes on a cryptographic money supply through judicial authority. Bitcoin is untouchable by the nation state and can be used with a veil of cybersecrecy.

With bitcoin, taxation takes a voluntary, pay-for-performance role. Users are free to attach as much or as little fee to the transaction as they wish, and accordingly, it will be taken care of by the mining network with the highest incentives rising to the top. Bitcoin transactions are taxed by default, and increasingly, high transaction fees will cause an explosion in the economic velocity of money.

In his Code 2.0 manifesto, Lawrence Lessig described law as a multiplicity of factors, regulation being just one among many. Other factors include the free market, social norms, and architecture. In the bitcoin economy the architecture is source-code. Truly, bitcoin is code as law and the blockchain represents a sort of constitution for the digital economy.

No amount of lobbying, congressional hearings, or bitlicenses will curb the adoption of cybercurrencies in the long run. Because bitcoin is untouchable by the nation state, the lifeblood of these conventional bodies will wither and die. Increasingly, politicians will struggle to squeeze the revenue from their citizens in order to pay for the ever-bloating expenses and programs it has conceived. When the lifeblood of the nation state (tax revenues) have run dry, that is the day we can confidently proclaim that the great empires of flesh and steel have fallen. In our opinion, this is a day we should work unabashedly toward.

Bitcoin Transitions the Nature of Violence

The most dominant currency today is held in place because the authority which issues it has the greatest ability to impose and defend from violence. The United States Federal Reserve Note is the global reserve currency not because of the nation’s unyielding belief in freedom, or the sound monetary policies of its leaders. The USD is the world currency because, as we have seen in times past, when someone threatens to detach themselves from their dependence of it, thereby compromising its position as the king, the authority subverts its own laws and seeks to destroy those who would attempt to disarm its dominance. The USD is backed by military prowess.

Bitcoin, on the other hand, transcends physicality and cannot be destroyed by any nation state. In the cyber domain, the economic returns on violence transition to those who are capable of executing cyberwarfare and thefts through the medium of digital technology itself, The cyberdomain is and will continue to be a haven for those with the technical intellect to command a machine to do what they want with it, rather than the original instructions it was given.

We are now left with a deeper question: Does the fact that it operates from a paradigm which is dimensions more intelligent than military force foreshadow an inevitability where bitcoin will supersede the USD?

Because bitcoin transitions the theft of money and the issuance of money to the digital realm, the nature of violence too is placed within a context which can only be acted upon by participants who dwell in cyberspace. What kinds of violence could be imposed through financial mediums of a digital realm?

Other than theft itself, the threat of a 51% attack is still a real threat with bitcoin. If a party had the ability to perform a 51% attack, not only would they be able to spend their money twice, but they would be able to cut you off from spending your money. Such a scenario would be catastrophic for the individual who holds the majority of their net worth on a network like bitcoin, and therefore should be a focal point of cautious development. Let us not fall into a society where the powers that be may erase our economic standing as easily as flicking a light switch.

Another act of violence could be considered the collectivization of data on the movement, holdings, and relationship of financial information in a digital economy such as bitcoin. A huge incentive presents itself for data mining the blockchain and analyzing the various relationships and patterns of spending. We wrote an article on this approaching threat, entitled The Incoming Surveillance of Bitcoin. Much like the internet of today, the bitcoin network initially presents itself as a bastion of liberty and anonymity, but is in truth destined to become the most surveilled form of money ever to exist.

Prepare Yourself Accordingly

Everything you’ve come to know about pensions, social welfare programs, and nationality as an ideology, will be obliterated by the implications of bitcoin. We have an emerging digital economy, which for the very first time, is able to operate completely independent of physical or central actors. We have a money supply which is based on the science of mathematics and therefore, has functionality dimensions more intelligent than our current economic paradigm. We now have a money supply which is made technically impractical to tax with our current methodologies due to cryptographic technology. We have a network of financial information which transitions the nature of violence, that of cybercrime, to the digital realm.

These factors combined will ensure that the nation state as it exists today will be irrevocably disrupted in a societal shift unseen since the dethroning of religious institutions during the 15th and 16th centuries. This time, the major difference is that it will happen much more quickly, and have much more pervasive effects than almost anyone is anticipating.

Bitcoin Will End the Nation State
Written by Travis Patron
Source: notbeinggoverned.com/bitcoin-will-end-the-nation-state

16
May

My Current Stack, v3.0

by adminadam in home

Nootropic Stack — Version 3 — May 2015

BENEFITS ACTIVITIES AMOUNTS FREQUENCY NOTES
anxiolysis, focus Meditation 10-15 minutes weekday mornings breathing exercise: nose 5 sec. in, mouth 10 sec out. repeat x10.
memory, focus Study Japanese 15-20 minutes weekday mornings helps discipline in other areas
energy, focus, muscle tissue, immune support, balance, flexibility Taekwondo & Muy Thai one hour classes two times per week self-defense, sparring, board breaking, weapon training, and “forms”
anxiolysis, focus, muscle tissue, balance, flexibility Slacklining 5-30 minutes once a week on average, more in the summer excellent for core and leg strength and balance
BENEFITS SUBSTANCE AMOUNTS FREQUENCY NOTES
wakefulness, executive function Modafinil 200-300mg tablet weekday mornings upon waking drink lots of water. add salt to maintain electrolytes.
wakefulness, anxiolysis Matcha Green Tea [buy] 4-6 grams powder, mixed in water from waking through early afternoon works with cold water.  contains calming L-theanine.
anxiolysis, immune support, hormonal balance Ashwagandha [buy] 500mg capsule with 300mg KSM-66 standardized extract and 200mg whole root powder twice a day calming and pro-social
anxiolysis Tianeptine Sodium 12.5mg powder three times a day powerful depression and anxiety relief
anxiolysis, energy Bromantane 75-100mg powder weekday mornings upon waking powerful anxiety relief
anxiolysis, energy, immune support Rhodiola Rosea [buy] 500mg capsule, 3% standardized extract once a day upon waking best on empty stomach
energy, executive function, muscle tissue Creatine Monohydrate 5 grams powder once a day upon waking increased muscle definition. slight initial muscle bloating.
energy, muscle tissue L-citrulline, DL-malate (2:1 powder) 3 grams powder once a day upon waking and after taekwondo in the evening reduces muscle cramping and soreness
focus, verbal fluency Oxiracetam 800-1200mg powder four times a day subtly stimulating and anxiolytic
focus, memory CDP-choline 400mg capsule three times a day helps with verbal fluency
memory, anxiolysis Bacopa Monnieri [buy] 250mg capsule, standardized to 45% bacosides twice a day take with food. memorizing names and kanji quicker.
memory, anti-demetia and cognitive function, myelination Lion’s Mane Mushroom [buy] 500mg capsule twice a day just started taking in May. waiting to see effects.
 memory, reaction speed Vinpocetine [buy] 10mg tablet two or three times a day subtly stimulating. increases cerebral blood flow.
anti-inflammation Turmeric Root 1-2 tbsp powder once a day upon waking helps fight and prevent sinus infections
turmeric bioavailability Black Pepper 50-100mg once a day upon waking helps with turmeric absorption. reports of modafinil tolerance reduction.
serotonin production, immune support Vitamin D two liquid drops = 4000 IU once a day upon waking take extra when a cold is coming on
fluoride detox, metabolism Iodine [buy] three liquid drops = 7-8mg once a day upon waking fluoride detox symptoms, albeit temporary, suck: acne, fever, nausea
gut health Raw Unmodified Potato Starch [buy] 1 tbsp twice a day mixes with water. causes flatulence initially.
electrolyte balance Pink Sea Salt 1/2 tsp two or three times a day increases thirst and water retention
electrolyte balance, muscle tissue Potassium (Citrate/Aspartate) 99mg capsule once a day as needed helps prevent muscle cramping after workouts
sleep quality Magnesium Glycinate 2 grams powder once a day before bed calming. increases amount of dreams at night.
muscle tissue, immune support L-glutamine 2-4 grams powder once a day upon waking and after taekwondo in the evenings reduces muscle cramping. reports of anxiety reduction.
gut health Primal Defense Ultra Probiotic [buy] 750mg capsule once or twice a day healthy gut, healthy mind!
vitamin A/D, omega 3’s Cod Liver Oil [buy] two 650mg softgels = 5000 IU vitamin A, 600 IU vitamin D, 30mg EPA, 30mg DHA once a day upon waking take extra when a cold is coming on
sleep quality Melatonin [buy] 3mg 20-30 minutes before bed increases number of dreams at night
joint health Glucosamine and MSM [buy] two 1500mg tablets = 1500mg glucosamine hydrochloride, 1500mg MSM once a day upon waking helps my wife fight arthritis
immune support, anti-inflammation Oregano Essential Oil [buy] one to two drops, 83% carvacrol one to three times a day helps fight colds, infection, parasites, viruses
immune support, heavy metal detox Chlorella Powder two to three grams once or twice a day reports of reduction in allergy symptoms
BENEFITS SUBSTANCE AMOUNTS FREQUENCY NOTES
12
May

Your Vote Doesn’t Matter

by adminadam in home

A Brief Treatise on the Futility of Mainstream Political Action and the Promise of Smart Contracts and Cryptographic Governance

Before I touch on new techniques available to the aspiring political entrepreneur I would like to set the scene with a bleak but informative view of the poverty of our modern, mainly American, political system (not to exclude anyone!).

Public opinion has no statistically-significant impact on public policy in the United States, whereas special interests can block any bill they dislike whilst, more often than not, getting the OK from congress for their own bills.

Unless you are one of the power elite your vote, your political opinion doesn’t matter.

And while the creator of this video would have you believe that there are ways to fix this broken system, I view things more cynically. I would like to make corruption illegal, don’t get me wrong. But I have a feeling that a movement to do so would be co-opted. I see that power elites corrupt and undermine popular political movements and figures on the daily. I see that they control the media and manipulate and sculpt our attention, too. They do this, as Noam Chomsky described, by encouraging lively debate within narrow bands of opinion:

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum – even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.”

Thus we are diverted from meaningful, profound discussions on a full-range of important issues. Instead, we seem to either A) partake in the spectacle of superficial, divisive debates orchestrated by Puppet Authority Figures on either delimited side of the argument, B) switch to thinking about the next pressing issue, “in other news…”, or C) take hit after hit of interminably-juicy celebrity gossip. The populous is dumb and it has been made dumb with brutal efficiency. But this is not the only reason that I have doubts about the promised, this-time-it’ll-be-different, Represent-Us Revolution, the plan for which you might be led to peruse if you watched until the end of the above video.

Let’s take a moment to review the basic situation here in America, and then I’ll tell you why I am not going to bother with this or any other mainstream progressive reformist movement for political change in the foreseeable future:

  1. Like they say in the video, politicians have been bought and sold for at least 40 years in the United States. The people that run the country are in bed with the people that run the largest corporations, and only the power elite get their policies enacted with anything more than a jackpot-lottery-ticket-winning success rate. We are dealing with a more-or-less self-sustaining, self-correcting system, a well-oiled machine.
  2. The American people are uneducated and ignorant of the workings of the machine. In fact, they are prevented from getting an education — at least insofar as they are given no regular opportunities to get exposure to nuanced, unbiased debates on wide-ranging, un-preselected topics. Americans don’t necessarily inherently value intellectual pursuits or learning in general either as far as I can tell. And yet we are impoverished not only in terms of knowledge and understanding…
  3. The American people are impoverished through excessive taxation (upwards of 50%) and the intentional and unchecked inflation of their currency by the Federal Reserve Banking System; hence, they have not the money or time to care about fomenting political change. Our mental and financial resources are drained in other nefarious ways as well, like through the attention-grabbing, counterproductive drug war.
  4. America is constantly at war — no, it’s not just with drugs — and the dispossessed (on both sides of the world) are the ones footing the bill.
  5. We know that if we speak out about corruption, warmongering, taxation, coercion, the broken health-care system, or the destruction of the environment, that we are more likely to be scrutinized by Five Eyes Intelligence Agencies. Although we may not care on average as Americans that we are being spied upon, Edward Snowden and others have worked tirelessly to bring it to our attention. Those that do care and are politically and technically savvy enough perhaps know better now the extent of the surveillance and understand better the design of the Panopticon, feel its chilling effects more profoundly in their bones. It is a scary time to promote and make plans for radical, political and economic deviations from the status quo. But that fear… Perhaps it is the sign that we are entering new territory. So what would moving forward actually look like?

On to the root of the issue of how to — or how not to — create change:

The problem with Occupy, the Tea Party, Revolution.us, and the next dozen yet-to-be-shouted-from-the-rooftops Movements fed up with the status quo is that their solutions regularly rely upon established practices, methods, and institutions. They march, write, phone-in, text, plead, promote, proselytize, fund-raise, and propose legislation. Surely for their supporters, seeing a Movement Member interviewed on the nightly news is exhilarating. And it happens to some extent — perhaps just enough to satisfy this need for a broad-enough-but-still-divisive rhetorical theater in the media as Chomsky described. But my problem with these movements isn’t the limited penetration they achieve into the information-feeding troughs of the average American television viewer or web surfer. My lack of faith in their projects has little do to with their paltry track records for bringing about lasting change, in fact.

My problem lies in the reliance on third-parties in general. By third-parties I mean other groups or individuals on whom the success of the movement, or the achievement of a redress of grievances, relies. Ultimately, if some vaguely socialist democratic movement, let’s say, were to gain power, overthrow and oust the power elites, fix the broken law/financial/environmental/societal system on their own terms, what would it amount to? Obviously we can assume their victory means just what I said, that they’ve achieved what they wanted. But now we’re left with another problem, if not a bigger problem: There is a new power elite, a new administration, a new congress, a new constitution, new third-parties, and new points of failure. Reading Ursula K. LeGuin’s The Dispossessed serves as a firm reminder of the necessity of constant revolution in radical political projects. All these movements, these configurations of human capital, sadly — no matter how virile, impassioned, or disciplined — suffer from the tendency in human-dependent systems towards a centralization of power. Ultimately, this leads to their decay. I — and I believe I speak for many of my readers as well — grow weary of this kind of karmic political cycle, the investment of large sums of energy, getting the ball rolling, only to have its energy siphoned off steadily in an entropic process of attrition and a cutting of supply lines for the movement. So I ask myself if there is a better way to structure our political system. But then I have problems with democracy itself, you see… The whole thing may need to be reworked. But allow me to explain…

What’s the problem with democracy?

It’s not only about centralization and corruption for me. Here’s my problem with democracy: In the first place, in a majority-rule country like ours, at most half of the country (consider especially how few people actually vote) is able to elect the representatives and enact the policies favorable to it. Secondly, those representatives are not bound by contract to deliver on their election promises. And we could even forgive their transgressions — on both sides — those voters who were duped, those elected officials prevented from carrying out ‘the will of the people’ in one way or another. The point being no one need take the blame; this system functions (if you can call it functional) with or without consent, with or without consensus, but more often than not without either in terms of the what the whole country wants. And our media have us believing that this is the best we can do. We swallow this lie and preach it to the heathens that suggest anything else might be better. Meanwhile we swim with sharks in the shark tank, trying to lobby and protest the measly scraps of food we manage to procure as we twist and turn to avoid being eaten ourselves…

Are you telling me there is a way to 1) guarantee that policies get carried out and 2) prove that consent has been obtained from all constituents? Is there a system less vulnerable to fraud, less dependent on malleable and often unscrupulous political intermediaries?

Enter smart contracts. This is what I believe we will use to obviate corruption even if we also succeed in making corruption illegal. So support revolution.us if you want to, but know that we have the tools today to start to programmatically restructure politics or even build alternative, parallel political and legal systems. Cryptographic Governance will allow us to make the shift from being reactive to being proactive in trying to fight corruption. So how does this work, and what are smart contracts?

Let’s let Andreas Antonopoulos, Bitcoin Protocol Champion Extraordanaire, begin. Note this is a highly technical intro; rest assured, further elucidation of the ramifications of what’s being said is forthcoming.

Of course, only in the last 20 seconds or so of this verbose description of smart contracts do the non-monetary applications of this Bitcoin protocol contract scripting language receive mention.

Effectively, what Andreas is saying is that wills, trusts, and other types of agreements can be encoded using this new programming language found in the Bitcoin Protocol to be carried out without (and despite) human intervention given that certain constraints are met.

While we will want to apply this technology to politics, his first example of how a financial transaction can be secured and managed automatically through a smart contract is illustrative:

Basically, amount $XXXX will be transferred from Company A to Company B IF AND ONLY IF:

  1. Company A signs the transaction to release the funds
  2. Escrow Company C signs off on the transfer, verifying Company B has fulfilled their end of the bargain and that Company A has the available funds in their wallet
  3. The transaction is dated after January 1, 2015, and
  4. The NASDAQ is at 2500 points

A will could be carried out along the same lines, and with it the deeds to an estate transferred, a hitherto encrypted message to the heirs unlocked, and the deceased’s collected private records expunged from all electronic databases, assuming an approved doctor’s death certificate has been uploaded to proofofextistence.com according to predefined criteria.

I think you can see where this is going. Any policy, the rules of governance of any entity, business or political, if they can be defined clearly enough, can be made to execute “no matter what anybody wants to happen.” To paraphrase from Andreas Antonopoulos, the diffuse power inherent in these decentralized technologies is much less corruptible than centralized power. The mayor would no longer keep the keys to the city, but would be given access to them IF AND ONLY IF. You can imagine myriad things as well, I am sure. But just for fun let’s say the mayor gets to use the mayoral limousine IF AND ONLY IF his klout score is above 80, his budget is in the black for the year, and 3 or more proof-of-existence photos of him playing with children in the park have been uploaded to the town webpage during the last 30 days. (A bit silly of a set of definitions, for sure, but that’s what the citizens of Ogdenville decided on!)

This is the world that you and I and our community members can build, leaving the oligarchs out of it. We will not wrest control from the power elites; we will innovate around them (without their permission). This is the future of bitcoin-secured smart contracts and cryptographic governance that I envision.

Take a look at a few noteworthy projects already up-and-coming in this space:

  • Counterparty is a platform for free and open financial tools on the Bitcoin network. Counterparty tokens can be used for a wide range of purposes and act as their own cryptocurrency, while still running on the Bitcoin blockchain. Unlike ordinary bitcoin, custom tokens can be used to issue dividends, confer voting rights, as electronic tickets, access to content, and more. Counterparty offers multisignature wallet addresses, which require signatures from more than one Bitcoin private key in order to spend their funds, allowing for flexible consensus-building systems to be built.
  • Ethereum calls itself a “platform for decentralized applications” and promises to make writing smart-contracts simple and efficient. One such fascinating project to emerge from the Ethereum-sphere is Augur, a “fully-decentralized, open-source prediction market platform, intended to revolutionize forecasting, decision making, and the manner in which information consensus is collected and aggregated”. Read more about Augur at augur.net. Etherparty is an intriguing user-friendly platform written using Ethereum to make writing smart-contracts easy for non-programmers.
  • Blockstream is another project and future platform with similar goals to Counterparty and Ethereum: Making smart-contracts and digital asset management easy and secure. They plan to use a feature of Bitcoin called sidechains to create two-way pegs between bitcoin and other assets or tokens. These assets and tokens in the sidechain can be comprised of anything: digital ballots, contracts, representations of other real-world currencies, the sky is the limit. The main-selling point with Blockstream is the tie-in with Bitcoin’s superior network hashing power — something that makes Bitcoin prohibitively expensive to attack.
  • Colored Coins and the Open Asset Protocol is another protocol for tying assets and digital keys to a subset of bitcoin to be transacted over the Bitcoin network. Applications include companies issuing shares in the form of ‘colored coins’, which could then be traded frictionlessly through the Bitcoin infrastructure. Also, a bank could issue colored coins backed by a cash reserve. People could then withdraw and deposit money in colored coins, and trade those, or use them to pay for goods and services. The Blockchain becomes a system allowing us to transact not only in Bitcoin, but in any currency by linking it to a set of colored coins. Additionally, locks on cars or houses could be associated with a particular type of colored coins. The door would only open when presented with a wallet containing that specific coin. This protocol is already being utilized by NASDAQ to “expand and enhance the equity management capabilities offered by its Nasdaq Private Market platform”. This will allow for greater efficiency in the issuance, transfer, and management of private company securities within the Nasdaq ecosystem.

Other noteworthy projects include:

  1. Lighthouse for decentralized crowdfunding (think: uncensorable, distributed community project donation pages),
  2. Open Bazaar for decentralized online marketplaces (think: uncensorable, distributed farmer’s markets),
  3. Maidsafe and Storj for secure P2P information storage (think: Dropbox but no one can spy on you or take down your data; it is distributed in encrypted shards and spread throughout the internet), and
  4. BitLendingClub and BTCjam for microloans to/from anyone anywhere in the world.

The future is looking pretty bright all of a sudden. But it is incumbent upon us — particularly those of us with the skills and resources available — to help build out these systems and make it happen. We need to maintain and improve upon our already-powerful open-source, cryptographic algorithms. We need to fight to encode privacy and our god-given human rights into the very fabric of the world. Edward Snowden said so himself. It is actually part of what spurred him on in divulging the crimes of the NSA and other government agencies:

“While I pray that public awareness and debate will lead to reform, bear in mind that the policies of men change in time, and even the Constitution is subverted when the appetites of power demand it. In words from history: Let us speak no more of faith in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of cryptography.”

[From Glenn Greenwald’s new book, No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State]

Snowden’s goal for us is to create a more free and equal internet. In an earlier interview with Laura Pointras, Snowden explained:

“The shock of this initial period [after the first revelations] will provide the support needed to build a more equal internet, but this will not work to the advantage of the average person unless science outpaces law. By understanding the mechanisms through which our privacy is violated, we can win here. We can guarantee for all people equal protection against unreasonable search through universal laws, but only if the technical community is willing to face the threat and commit to implementing over-engineered solutions. In the end, we must enforce a principle whereby the only way the powerful may enjoy privacy is when it is the same kind shared by the ordinary: one enforced by the laws of nature, rather than the policies of man.”

By implementing these new cryptographic systems, we may move one step further towards what Snowden envisioned: distributed and secure math-based ecosystems that enhance our privacy and allow us to innovate further in all areas — in government, in finance, in communications and journalism, etc. Even if you inherently trust our government — kudos to you for reading this far, by the way — I would argue that the price of non-action here is great: Dictators around the world, future corrupt leaders of America, they all stand to benefit if citizens are denied these tools.

Another of my idols in this space is singer/songwriter/activist Tatiana Moroz, creator of the song, “The Bitcoin Jingle” (see further below). She speaks about the importance of these new kinds of projects in liberating us. In her talk just below, she describes her journey of hope and betrayal, a tale of a loss of innocence, a growing political cynicism. She fell first for presidential candidate Dennis Kuchinich, and then later for candidate Ron Paul, only to be disappointed at their negligible impact (some would say the negligible impact they were allowed to have) in American politics. She later learned about how the Federal Reserve controls and fuels the political machine under which we suffer. But then she found a new source of hope and light in the currency and technology platform known as Bitcoin.

Although I enjoy her talk immensely, concerning the creation of the first pro-artist digital currency, Tatiana Coin — amongst other innovations and insights she shares — it’s not strictly necessary to watch till the end. [Jump to the 19:00 minute mark for the meat of the discussion on smart contracts.] I think you get it. I think you see that people are talking. People like Tatiana, Andreas, and Edward are fired up — and they want you to join in the fight. Greater transparency in government, a reigning in of corruption, proper implementation of secure protocols, the funding of important projects, the re-installation of our civil rights, and perhaps most importantly: the fueling of people’s curiosity and desire to experiment, to live in a wondrous and endlessly-fascinating world. That is their call. And that is the promise of smart contracts and cryptographic governance.

The Bitcoin Jingle, by Tatiana Moroz

SOURCES:

1. Gilens and Page, “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens,” Perspective on Politics, 2014. http://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/mgilens/files/gilens_and_page_2014_-testing_theories_of_american_politics.doc.pdf

2. Washington Post, “Rich People Rule!” 2014.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2014/04/08/rich-people-rule/

3. Washington Post, “Once again, U.S. has most expensive, least effective health care system in survey,” 2014.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2014/06/16/once-again-u-s-has-most-expensive-least-effective-health-care-system-in-survey/

4. Forbes Opinion, “The tax code is a hopeless complex, economy-suffocating mess,” 2013.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/billfrenzel/2013/04/04/the-tax-code-is-a-hopeless-complex-economy-suffocating-mess/

5. CNN, “Americans pay more for slower Internet,” 2014.
http://money.cnn.com/2014/10/31/technology/internet-speeds/

6. The Atlantic, “American schools vs. the world: expensive, unequal, bad at math,” 2013.
http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/12/american-schools-vs-the-world-expensive-unequal-bad-at-math/281983/

7. Sunlight Foundation, “Fixed Fortunes: Biggest corporate political interests spend billions, get trillions,” 2014.
http://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2014/11/17/fixed-fortunes-biggest-corporate-political-interests-spend-billions-get-trillions/

25
Apr
2
Apr

My Current Stack, v2.0

by adminadam in articles

Since September I’ve made some changes to my stack. Most notably I’ve removed Vinpocetine and added Creatine Monohydrate, Rhodiola Rosea, and Tianeptine Sodium. Learn about these additions following the before/after lists:

BEFORE


  1. ModafinilModalert, 200mg, weekday mornings.
  2. Caffeine/L-theanineNatural Stacks’ Smart Caffeine, 100mg Caffeine and 200mg L-theanine, three or four times per day.
  3. Decaf Bulletproof CoffeeUpgraded Self, blended with 1 tbsp. organic, grass-fed butter and 1 tbsp. MCT/coconut-oil, mornings.
  4. Additional L-theanineDoctor’s Best Suntheanine, 150mg, three or four times per day.
  5. AniracetamPowder City powder, 1 gram, every 3-4 hours.
  6. NoopeptPowder City powder, 30mg, two to three times per day.
  7. Bacopa MonnieriSwanson Superior Herbs (BaCognize), standardized to 45% baccosides, 250mg, two or three times per day.
  8. AshwagandhaNutrigold Ashwagandha Gold, 300mg standardized KSM-66 extract with 5% withanolides, plus 200mg whole root powder, two or three capsules per day.
  9. VinpocetineSource Naturals, 10mg, twice per day.


  10. IodineLugol’s Iodine 2.2% Solution, 4 drops with a glass of water, once a day in the morning.
  11. Butter Oil / Cod Liver OilGreen Pastures, BLUE ICE™ Royal Butter Oil / Fermented Cod Liver Oil Blend, two 750mg capsules each morning.
  12. Organic Turmeric Root Powder — 1-2 tbsp. mixed in water with black pepper to increase bioavailability.
  13. MelatoninSchiff’s Melatonin Ultra/Knock-Out, 3mg, one or two capsules, 30+ minutes before bed.
  14. Activated CharcoalNature’s Way, as needed.

AFTER


  1. ModafinilModalert, 200mg, weekday mornings.
  2. Caffeine/L-theaninePowder City, 100mg Caffeine and 200mg L-theanine, three or four times per day.
  3. Decaf Bulletproof CoffeeUpgraded Self, blended with 1 tbsp. organic, grass-fed butter and 1 tbsp. MCT/coconut-oil, mornings.
  4. Additional L-theanineDoctor’s Best Suntheanine, 150mg, three or four times per day.
  5. AniracetamPowder City powder, 1 gram, every 3-4 hours.
  6. NoopeptPowder City powder, 15mg, two to three times per day.
  7. Bacopa MonnieriSwanson Superior Herbs (BaCognize), standardized to 45% baccosides, 250mg, two or three times per day.
  8. AshwagandhaNutrigold Ashwagandha Gold, 300mg standardized KSM-66 extract with 5% withanolides, plus 200mg whole root powder, two or three capsules per day.
  9. VinpocetineSource Naturals, 10mg, twice per day. On hold: Although generally well-tolerated and largely efficacious, wanted to save money.
  10. IodineLugol’s Iodine 2.2% Solution, 3 drops with a glass of water, once a day in the morning.
  11. Cod Liver OilNOW Foods Cod Liver Oil, two 650mg softgels each morning.

  12. Organic Turmeric Root Powder — 1-2 tbsp. mixed in water with black pepper to increase bioavailability.
  13. MelatoninSchiff’s Melatonin Ultra/Knock-Out, 3mg, one or two capsules, 30+ minutes before bed.
  14. Activated CharcoalNature’s Way, as needed.
  15. Creatine MonohydrateHard Rhino Creatine Monohydrate Micronized 200 Mesh Pure Powder, 5 grams mixed with water once each morning.
  16. Rhodiola RoseaNOW Foods Rhodiola, one 500mg capsule each morning.
  17. Tianeptine Sodium — Powder City powder, 12.5mg three times a day.

SUMMARY OF NEW COMPOUNDS

Creatine Monohydrate directly fuels mitochondrial metabolism through the boosting of ATP levels in the body. It enhances brain metabolism and thusly, improves mental stamina and executive function quite effectively. It also has numerous workout benefits, including increased staying power, endurance, and muscle definition. May cause slight bloating effects due to extra water retention. Workout recovery time is reduced. SOURCE: http://examine.com/supplements/Creatine/

Rhodiola Rosea is an artic adaptogenic herbal power house. Rhodiola boosts energy and immune function while helping your body deal with stress and fatigue. Higher doses have been shown to have some anti-depressant effects. Generally boosts cognition and subjective well-being. Best taken on an empty stomach in the morning, in doses between 250 and 600mg. SOURCE: http://examine.com/supplements/Rhodiola+Rosea/

Tianeptine Sodium — a.k.a. Stablon, Coaxil, Tatinol — is a neuroprotective, antidepressant drug of the previously-undiscovered SSRE class (not to be confused with SSRI’s, which are the oft-maligned, dangerous, and difficult-to-adjust-to Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors; Tianeptine conversely enhances reuptake of serotonin in the brain). Tianeptine acts both as a non-sedating anti-anxiety agent and a non-stimulating mood-brightener. Tianeptine may serve as a long-acting nootropic. It counteracts serotonin-induced inhibition of cholinergic medial septal neurons. Chronic tianeptine desensitizes serotonin 5-HT1B presynaptic heteroreceptors which inhibit acetylcholine release. Experimentally, tianeptine improves working and reference memory in depressed rats, probably due to its neurotrophic action. Tianeptine prevents stress-induced memory deficits and restores synaptic plasticity. Even a single dose of tianeptine measurably increases growth hormone (GH) secretion; long-term GH enhancers tend to improve intellectual performance. Much research on Tianeptine’s potential has yet to be done, but the low toxicity profile, combined with the anxiolytic and mood-brightening, mood-balancing effects make it a force to be reckoned with. Typical doses reach 37.5mg MAX daily, divided into 3 doses of 12.5mg. Tianeptine Sulfate may be taken in 20-25mg doses twice per day due to its slower absorption in the body. SOURCE: http://www.tianeptine.com/