4
Feb

Tokyo Bitcoin News ep. 10 – Bitcoin ATM’s and Multi-sig

by adminadam in videos

Lazy translation:

— Bitcoin ATM’s: Here’s an ATM next to us. Where are these made?
— Generally in America.
— There are more and more Bitcoin ATM’s around the world. We can see them on the map. There are 555.
— 16 in Japan, huh?
— Yes, there are different brands too: Genesis ATM is the leading manufacturer of Bitcoin ATM’s. Lamassu is #2. One’s that are easy to use are becoming more common. We are adding one Bitcoin ATM per day on average right now around the world.

— Recently the price has been going up and down. But it seems more people are buying bitcoin these days; we can safely ignore the recent Hearn debacle.

— There was a seminar recently that we attended. How was it for you?
— I thought that it was easy to understand, and I thought it was noteworthy that transactions are almost free of fees and the fact that everyone in the network secures bitcoin together I thought was interesting. I also thought, wow, I’ve never thought about the nature of money before either…
— A lot of people were buying bitcoins there, too, huh?
— Yeah, quite a few people.
— Some individuals were buying a large amount too.

— So let’s talk about how people are getting their hands on bitcoin these days… If you buy bitcoin at an ATM you’ll either send it to a wallet on your phone, or you’ll get one of these paper wallets with the private key and the public key showing. Of course if you’ve got a lot of money on your paper wallet, it’s insecure, and you stand to lose it all if anyone scans the private key before you transfer the bitcoin associated with it away to some other wallet (and a new address).

— So how do you secure bitcoin? If you look at the top 100 richest bitcoin addresses on BitcoinRichList, it shows there are some with over $60 million worth of bitcoin in them. And notice the addresses here, there are a few that start with a 3, and most of the rest start with a number 1. The number at the beginning of the addresses tell you something. A 1 tells you that it’s a normal single-signature wallet address. A 3 tells you that it belongs to a multi-signature wallet.

— Multi-signature wallets, such as the Trezor hardware wallet, or any number of multi-sig software wallets, allow you to divide the ownership or control over a bitcoin wallet amongst three or more keys. You can distribute these keys around the world, or have your neighbor or a friend hold a third key for you while you hold two. If you hold two keys, you can use those two keys to spend your bitcoin from the multi-sig wallet that you’ve got. If you lose one, your neighbor can still help you sign off on the transaction so it can be sent.
— It’s kind of like a bank, isn’t it?
— It is like a bank except only the wallet (account) owner can move the bitcoin to a new address.

— Only about 30 out of the top 100 bitcoin addresses now are multi-sig wallet addresses. It seems rather foolish. You’re much more vulnerable keeping all your bitcoin in a single-signature wallet. I think we’ll be seeing the number of multi-sig addresses increase a lot in the near future. We could expect more multi-sig addresses to be taking up the top 100 richest address spots in the next few years.

— There are some trends in top companies around the world (having to do with dematerializaiton). So many of the world’s most innovative companies have little-to-no property or inventory; they generally just coordinate others’ resources:

  • Uber – The world’s largest taxi company owns no vehicles.
  • Facebook – The world’s most popular media owner creates no content.
  • Alibaba – The most valuable retailer has no inventory.
  • Airbnb – The world’s largest accommodation provider owns no real estate.

— I could see bitcoin fitting into such a role in the future: “Bitcoin – The world’s largest bank holds no money”.

— The Trezor is a really cool way to protect your bitcoins. If you don’t plug it into your computer, you can’t spend the bitcoins. If your computer is hacked, you’re protected because the private key for your wallet is on the other device, the Trezor. Not only is the key separated from the network (offline), but you need to enter an pincode with on-screen obfuscated number pad, but also you need to confirm two times by pressing a button on the device before you can send money to someone.

— And now Trezor is selling this multi-sig set of hardware wallets. There’s three in each package. You could take two and trust me to hold the third as a backup. You’d need both of your keys, or one of yours plus mine, in order to withdraw from the account. I can’t ever withdraw from the account because I only have one key.

— You can see this being potentially very useful for companies to secure large accounts. For example, they could distribute 15 keys to members of the board of directors. Maybe they give one to a law firm they hire to arbitrate in the case consensus cannot be reached or if, heaven forbid, more than half of the board members die or lose their keys. You can set the minimum number of keys needed to send a transaction to whatever you want: 5 of 15, 10 of 15, etc.

— There are new physical hardware wallets that work just like credit cards, too, now. They use the same kind of chip technology and everything. As of right now, there is no standard way of securing your bitcoin with hardware wallets. The bitcoin ecosystem is still in its infancy, but it is developing quickly.

— What do you think about all this?
— I feel like I want to know more now, like it would be good to know about bitcoin and how it works.

— What about the economic and technological impacts that this technology can have? What do you think about this?
— It seems like it could be useful for many things. Since you can send money to anyone it would be great for charity, wouldn’t it?
— Yes, indeed. You can donate to any given cause around the world.

— Ultimately, it’s really a young technology and is not very user-friendly yet. But the developers in the space are working at a frantic pace to build it out and make it better and easier to use.

25
Jan

The 7 Network Effects of Bitcoin

by adminadam in articles

Trace Mayer, J.D., a long-time Bitcoin Guru and Investor in Bitcoin companies such as Armory and Kraken, explains the network effects that will lead to Bitcoin’s continued success.

From his talk hosted by CRYPSA at LaGuardia Community College – June 29, 2015.
Listen to the audio: http://www.bitcoin.kn/2015/06/crypsa-event-with-trace-mayer/

The 7 network effects of Bitcoin are as follows:

  1. Speculation — As a novel, cryptographically-backed asset class with the potential for appreciation and high volatility, Bitcoin is perfect for speculators with a high tolerance for risk.
  2. Merchant Adoption — Merchants will increasingly accept Bitcoin because they can increase their profit margins by avoiding credit card fees and chargebacks.
  3. Consumer Adoption — Consumers can use Bitcoin to save money at certain vendors. For example, getting a 20% discount on Amazon by spending Bitcoin through Purse. Additionally, consumers can buy things with Bitcoin that they cannot buy (easily) in any other way. Consider: An American can buy Persian rugs or Cuban cigars online despite trade embargoes. Bitcoin increases the efficiency of the economy, particularly in niche areas such as these.
  4. Security — Merchant, consumer, and speculator adoption lead to a higher price and thus incentivize more miners to participate and secure the system. The decentralized, immutable transaction ledger also serves as a form of Triple Entry Bookkeeping, wherein Debits plus Credits plus the Network Confirmations of transactions increase trust and accountability across the system.
  5. Developer Mindshare — Bitcoin is a “dumb”, predictable network with simple rules and a publicly-auditable codebase. It is fertile ground for the development of complicated algorithms, machine-to-machine payment protocols, smart contracts, and other tools. Its decentralized nature allows for innovation without permission. Altcoins (such as Litecoin and Ethereum) pose little threat as Bitcoin is already dominant as a store of value and as a medium of exchange in the cryptocurrency space. If you harbor doubts about the importance of this currency network effect — or worry about altcoins overtaking Bitcoin in some other way — I would point you to Daniel Krawisz’ insightful and though-provoking article on the subject: “The Coming Demise of Altcoins“. Ultimately, developers will continue to flock to Bitcoin.
  6. Financialization — Bitcoin will eat up progressively more of the market share of legacy banking institutions in areas such as remittances, micropayments, peer-to-peer lending, and the exchange of stocks and securities. This process has already begun (consider NASDAQ’s support of Open Assets/Colored Coins for the transfer of securities, NYSE’s investment in Coinbase, etc.). Old money risks dying out lest it embrace new protocols such as Bitcoin.
  7. Adoption as a World Reserve Currency — Eventually all transactions will be settled on the blockchain, including house titles, stock purchases, car titles, and other monetary instruments and currencies. Network effects one through six culminate in this final network effect. Any newcomer in the realm of cryptocurrency — or traditional currency, for that matter — would need to beat Bitcoin in all seven of these areas. This is unlikely considering the pace of development in Bitcoin Core, the level of investment in Bitcoin companies around the world, the growth in Bitcoin’s user base, and on and on… Further price increases will only accelerate the process. Finally, a speculative attack could dramatically boost the value of Bitcoin almost overnight.

Bitcoin is a strong currency: it thrives on the internet; it frees its users from 3rd parties; it saves merchants money; it is deflationary; its code can be audited by all; its developers work tirelessly to improve upon it; the list goes on. The above-listed network effects can only serve to strengthen it. Competitors beware.


READ THIS NEXT: Speculative Attack, by Pierre Rochard

An excerpt from the introduction of “Speculative Attack”:

Bitcoin will not be eagerly adopted by the mainstream, it will be forced upon them. Forced, as in “compelled by economic reality”. People will be forced to pay with bitcoins, not because of ‘the technology’, but because no one will accept their worthless fiat for payments. Contrary to popular belief, good money drives out bad. This “driving out” has started as a small fiat bleed. It will rapidly escalate into Class IV hemorrhaging due to speculative attacks on weak fiat currencies. The end result will be hyperbitcoinization, i.e. “your money is no good here”.

22
Jan

Euro Deemed a Failure

by adminadam in videos

“The €uro is a Failure”

Twitter: @AustrianMarkets
YouTube: Austrian Markets

  • ECB to continue quantitative easing and maintain negative-interest rate policy through March, 2017.
  • Stock exchanges primarily dependent on stimulus and tax-payer subsidies.
  • ECB pronounce ‘no limit to the stimulus’.
  • Maintenance of ‘Price Stability’ — Doublespeak for “guaranteed annual consumer price increase of 2%” — the driving force behind negative interest rate and quantitative easing programs.
  • More state spending is advocated to solve problems created by state spending.
  • West-German tax-payers prop up insolvent PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain), unsustainable.
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel forces demographic and financial burdens on German people.
  • No plan to restructure or reduce debt; proposed “Austerity”measures merely decreases in increased spending; faux Austerity Theatre.
  • Europeans uncomfortable with the notion of immediate, short-term economic pain from True Austerity; convinced by Academics and Bureaucrats that increased spending will magically solve fiscal problems.
  • Toxic Greek debt a threat to EU Area.
  • Weaker economies leaving EU, returning to own currencies, creating free-trade zones à la HK, seen as only viable path to regain solvency.
  • Minor spending decreases plus large tax increases enables irresponsible countries and bureaucrats at the expense of productive countries and tax-payers.
  • Euro deemed a failure.

 

23
Dec

How Compatible Are Anarchism and Capitalism?

by adminadam in essays

Are Anarchism and Capitalism irreconcilable or can these two schools of thought be integrated?

Let’s first explore some definitions. The term ‘anarchism’ comes from the Greek an and archos, which roughly translates to “without rulers”.

Traditionally, Left Anarchism has promoted the idea of political action committees and workers’ councils as an alternative governance structure to State politics. Essentially, these PAC’s and councils are meant to exert political pressure as they see fit. This is both to maintain their political monopoly position — to prevent the reemergence of the “Nation State” (read: any competing governance model) in a given geographic area or indeed the whole world — and also to disrupt the inevitable accumulation of capital in any given enterprise or individual. In effect, the means of political control and domination in such a Left Anarchist society are the same as that of a capitalist nation state. Political power, undoubtedly, still exists; it has just been rebranded. Left Anarchists thus seek to appoint themselves as the new rulers of their society post-revolution.

It is interesting to note the responses received when asking a traditional (Left) Anarchist who it is that would lead these PAC’s and workers’ councils. I have often been disappointed at the naivety (and obstinance) of those with whom I’ve taken up the matter: “All of us would lead. There would be no rulers. We would make all decisions affecting our citizenry through consensus”.

I am personally unconvinced by these assurances and others, such as the assertion that all members of the society would receive everything they needed in order to live a happy and healthy life — and that all this would be accomplished through bi-weekly meetings conducted by the dedicated and incorruptible. Are we all truly so virtuous?

“It is said that power corrupts, but actually it’s more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power.” –David Brin

Of course humans are corruptible. And it stands to reason that — in complete denial of our own faults and arrogance — we might view ourselves as pure and righteous and worthy of such power. It is an insidious twist — a leap in logic as it were — to say that instead of just me (for, of course, I am not fit to rule) that we all rule (for, of course, we will make wise and just decisions together). What’s often left out of these discussions in my experience is the question of what happens to the people that don’t participate in the consensus process. Are their views weighed? Or is a small minority (a bureaucracy) making decisions — however presumptuously — for us all?

So we see Left Anarchism is Statism-rebranded, albeit with a necessarily destructive bent towards capital and those who wish to retain the fruits of their labor. With this it seems a wholly more thorough, more potent form of Statism with a penchant for violence and an inherently contradictory nature: If we are all rulers, and some choose not to exercise their place on the Grand Council, we will decide for them. That there can be no competing models, that the Grand Council decides everything, that capital also is inevitably siphoned off to feed this Council smacks of Authoritarianism and Tyranny to me. (Better almost to have a King, considering that: 1. Alone a King could implement logically- and internally-consistent policies, 2. Only a small portion of the populous’ wealth would go to feed him, and 3. he may even give back to his people on occasion.)

Left Anarchists do not truly seek to destroy the State, although they make such pronouncements regularly; they seek to, themselves, become it.

Could Capitalism and Anarchism conceivably compliment each other?

While few understand Capitalism to mean simply the freedom to earn and keep the product of your labor, many take it to mean a world in which corporations — regarded as citizens by the State, mind you — monopolize and exploit workers and the environment. Capitalism is understood to equate to the exploitation of workers in developing countries and the destruction of the environment by corporations. Let us not forget that these corporations are granted rights and given welfare by the State.

In all truth, this consequence or set of consequences, the impacts of corporations, are entirely dependent on the State, which:

  • controls the issuance of credit and fiat currency,
  • subsidizes wholly unprofitable industries, and
  • bails out banks laden with toxic assets (further encouraging investment in such assets).

Remove the State, along with it the subsidies, corporate taxes, and start-up costs… and competition can begin to sort out the problems in the market. Failing banks will fail; private losses will remain private. An oil company that causes undue harm to the environment in this society will be boycotted and hence incentivized by consumers to do the right thing: make ammends, pay reparations, and straighten out its act — or else wither and die. Innovative companies will succeed, and continue to succeed until such time as they stop innovating or are overtaken by even more innovative firms. The Free Market Anarchist, the Anarcho-Capitalist, endeavors to bring about this exact state of affairs.

The Left Anarchist retort to this free market vision is often one which insinuates hypocrisy for proposing to supplant political rulers with the Captains of Industry, the Rich. Wouldn’t the capitalists become the new ruling class, absent any political structure?

This question deserves some exploration.

Capitalists as “Ruling Class”

If we return to elementary economics, we see that when a store owner tries to charge a customer too much for a loaf of bread the customer goes elsewhere. In voluntary market interactions such as these there is by definition no coercive element.

Consider the inverse of this situation, which is that a State or Workers’ Council runs the only store in town — or the only store in the whole country for that matter — and demands $10.00 for Wonder Bread. People are forced to buy it or try to get it through the black market, for which by no mere coincidence they may have their lives and livelihoods threatened by the very same State or Council. This is coercive, indeed. The Command Economy is clearly the more violent of the two systems.

wonder-bread

Which would you prefer? A single state-run bread company, or many firms which compete to offer better bread to you for less money?

Simply put, unless a State is propping up a corporation as a monopoly through legislation, bailouts, and subsidies, a corporation has no chance to coerce its potential customers. Even if for a period of time it charges high prices, eventually competitors will arise.

“The average lifespan of a company listed in the S&P 500 index of leading US companies has decreased by more than 50 years in the last century, from 67 years in the 1920s to just 15 years today.” (source: BBC: Can a company live forever?)

Let us reiterate: The average S&P 500 company of today will last just 15 years! Compare this to the life of Empires and Nation States, which is a much longer 250 years on average.

Even the average life of currencies — at 27 years — is nearly twice as long as that of a corporation:

According to a study of 775 fiat currencies by DollarDaze.org, there is no historical precedence for a fiat currency that has succeeded in holding its value. Twenty percent failed through hyperinflation, 21% were destroyed by war, 12% destroyed by independence, 24% were monetarily reformed, and 23% are still in circulation approaching one of the other outcomes. … The average life expectancy for a fiat currency is 27 years, with the shortest life span being one month. (source)

Compared with the perenniality of the State, corporations are ephemera. As fast as corporations wane at present, imagine a world in which none are bouyed up by the government. Were they then to fall into such disreputable behaviors as price gouging or senselessly inflicting environmental damage it would only hasten their demise. Fear not an enduring Corporatocracy; it cannot exist without the collusion and the many blessings of the State.

So to answer the Left Anarchist retort: No, there are no Rulers in Free Market Capitalism, only the shifting sands of the innovative and the stagnant — a sea of companies with natural variation over time, high and low tides.

But what of the Command Economy? Can’t it even out these natural variations?

Ignoring for a moment the folly of a group of politicos thinking they can outwit the market — the collective economic intelligence of all of humanity — how could we summarize the vision of the Authoritarian or the Left Anarchist and contrast it with that of the Anarcho-Capitalist?

Let us consider the intersections of political power and economic freedom. We have Authoritarianism on the one hand, which is complete political control, not unlike what is espoused in Left Anarchists circles. The typical government is monopolistic. It has one set of laws and one primary means of enforcing those laws. To suggest that alternative, parallel legal systems or means of enforcement could co-exist is tantamount to treason. The authoritarian condemns and incarcerates the dissident, quashes divergent thinking through indoctrination and “re-education”. And while anarchists of all stripes rail against this, sadly only a select few mean to completely dismantle the State and break the spell of Statism that has been cast over the people, like wool over their eyes.

The State, the Commune, the Council are all authoritarian in essence, or at the very least tend towards authoritarianism and tyranny, growing ever bigger with the passage of time. It is due to this that I lump Statism and Left Anarchism under the same category of Authoritarianism. I’ll leave it to you to perform the mental substitution for either of these schools of thought in light of my visual below.

Capitalism, on the other hand, can be considered a politically-neutral state of affairs in which the accumulation of wealth is entirely unrestricted. These two, I will argue, opposing systems often comprise the political reality of the day in concert. The U.S. is one such hybrid model, for instance.

Political Power and Economic Freedom AUTHORITARIANISM CAPITALISM
AUTHORITARIANISM Authoritarian Ruling Class
Entrenched State Monopolies
Command Economy
All Profits Go to Government
Hybrid Ruling Class
Some State-Backed Monopolies
Mixed Economy
Some Private Profits
CAPITALISM Hybrid Ruling Class
Some State-Backed Monopolies
Mixed Economy
Some Private Profits
No Ruling Class
No Entrenched Monopolies
Free Market Economy
Maximum Private Profits

We can summarize the above as follows:

  • If we have a State we have a Ruling Class.
  • Similarly, if we have a Council or some kind of PAC we have a Ruling Class.
  • If we have Corporations and a State we may have a hybrid Ruling Class, but certainly a Ruling Class exists.
  • If we have only Corporations we do not have a Ruling Class. What we have instead is a constant turnover in the means of production and consistent innovation stemming from unencumbered markets.

But how do we make decisions without the guidance of a State or Council?

If all interactions are voluntary, and all transactions are entered into freely by consenting participants, then no need for political authority exists. It is thus up to each individual to determine what he needs and what he desires. The idea of having “No Rulers” is less prescriptive and more descriptive of reality in this imagined Free World in that case. It achieves the end-game of Anarchism without the need for constant, bloody revolution, without the need for bi-weekly meetings in which conniving bureaucrats on one side, and hot-headed idealists on the other, try to convince themselves that they are still all, in fact, on the same side of the table.

All Statist ideologies posit the need for a final arbiter of truth, a single individual or set of individuals which is not only capable but also virtuous enough to make decisions for the whole of society — often without the input of any of the members of said society — on matters as diverse as finance and environmental stewardship, logistics and defense, welfare and money printing, science and morality, immigration and agricultural production, ad infinitum. We live currently in a world in which people predominantly see through the lens of Statism, one that unquestioningly asserts that such expert and morally-superior Arbiters of Truth exist. Tell me, please: Where are all these Anomalous and Divine Beings? And why on Earth would they choose to enter into Politics of all areas?

So aren’t Anarchism and Capitalism complimentary in fact?

Indeed, it appears so, that the absence of rulers (Anarchism) and the absence of barriers to trade and free association (Capitalism) go hand in hand. Anarcho-Capitalism is a marraige of ultimate personal freedom with that of maximum economic freedom. It seems the more internally-consistent and morally-justified of the political models:

Nolan Political Chart - Capitalism

Source: paoracle.com

At the very least Free Market Capitalism, or Anarcho-Capitalism, starts with the assumption of Freedom for All. Maximize freedom for everyone and dismantle Political Power. On the opposing end we see Communism and Socialism — the same camp in which Left Anarchism ultimately finds itself — and these are in close proximity to Facism and Nazism. All four of these -ism’s presuppose and necessitate the expansion of government power, whether the reigns of Government change hands or not. It seems prudent — insofar as you have a choice — to choose to implement or support a system which grants you the utmost freedoms, so that even if they are eventually curtailed, at the very least you will have experienced Freedom in its purest form during your life time. What a marvelous thing that would be!

9
Dec

Bitcoin Price Ticker and Price History

by adminadam in home

Bitcoin Price Ticker from BTCquote.com

All-time Price History for Bitcoin

Weekly Average Bitcoin Prices from Mt. Gox until its collapse in February 2014:

BTCpriceMtGoxAllWeekly
Weekly Average Bitcoin Prices from BitStamp since it opened in September 2011:

BTCpriceBitStampAllWeekly

Average Monthly Price in October since 2010:

YEAR PRICE EXCHANGE
2010 $0.11 Mt. Gox
2011 $3.53 Avg. Mt. Gox & BitStamp
2012 $11.56 Avg. Mt. Gox & BitStamp
2013 $163 BitStamp
2014 $358 BitStamp
2015 $268 BitStamp
7
Dec

How Far I’ve Come Since 2008

by adminadam in home

In 2008, I created my first personal blog: WELKAOS, a buddhism-inspired, liberal, social-justice centered blog. I laugh at how different I was back then.

At that time I claimed I was all of the following on my about page:

  • friend, brother, son, grandson, and cousin
  • mid-20’s
  • curious
  • compassionate
  • critical
  • white
  • straight-questioning
  • able-bodied
  • male
  • well-educated
  • educator
  • vegan
  • socialist-democrat
  • spiritual and non-religious
  • human being
  • synergy – more than the sum of my parts, just like you!

I mean, c’mon. I identified as Synergy itself! I must have really been struggling to up my ID count.

I was super hippy-dippy. I was vegan. I was a Social Justice Warrior. It was the thing to do. I lived in a small, liberal, West-Coast college town. This conferred benefits: amelioration of assumed and internalized guilt, and access to a community of liberal upper-middle class SJW girls. It was also more-or-less a prerequisite to getting into my teaching program. They really tried to shove guilt and the worshiping of the state down your throat in the college of education.

My tag line was interesting, too. My complete title read:

WELKAOS: We welcome chaos with calm compassion.

Who is we? I don’t know..! On to more salient points, then.

WELKAOS is a portmanteau of “welcome” and “chaos”. I spelt it out for you either way. Apparently, I welcomed chaos with calm compassion. Calm compassion seems a bit redundant, don’t you think? Aren’t compassionate people generally calm? And aren’t calm people generally compassionate? (I mean some calm people are sociopaths — calm looking anyways — really they are emotionless, but I digress…) You’d think that I was the zen-est motha-fucka out there. But no. I had a bone to pick. With everyone.

I was vegan. And what I don’t mention — but what is usually true of vegans — is that I was an environmentalist. A fierce one. I made people from Texas defend their “throwing everything into the garbage” behavior. (Really it just annoyed people and made them not want to talk to me.) I can say this because I was a vegan for 5 years: Vegans are hard to talk to sometimes. I still have trouble talking with new vegans that I meet, and I was one!

Besides all the boring family member descriptions and the fact that I was a male, I felt cool and edgy declaring myself to be straight-questioning, a queer (as in odd) way — pun intended — of saying in the SJW parlance that I was ‘almost doubtful of my heterosexuality’. Never fear, no need to doubt: I’ve checked since then. I’m definitely straight. That is okay, right? (And yes, I like Same Love, by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.)

Sadly, the SJW community glorifies fringe identity identification, meaning the more labels, and the more obscure of lables you can place on yourself — whether self-deprecating, or true, or just convenient — the better. Typical middle-class white college straight guy not cool. Bad even. SJ mentality and theory is a creepy-crawly thing. It works to gain converts by slathering potential targets in guilt-butter repeatedly until — having been made to alternate constantly for 6 hours between boredom and confusion — the target inevitably gets hungry, opens their mouth, and tastes the guilt-assuaging (really reallocating) poison of hierarchical ‘egalitarianism’. If you don’t accept it, you are obviously a greedy white capitalist pig promoting rape-culture and the beating of slightly-sleepy, chilled-out black guys. The obvious inverse of this is that Dark-skinned Muslim Native-American Lesbian Women who identify as Men and are Polyamorous are at the top of the hierarchy. At least that’s pretty cool.

Funny that I would so calmly accept being placed into a hierarchical “egalitarian” structure in which I was the bottom-rung on the totem pole. Certainly reinforces any internalized judgments and self-hate that lies in wait inside your heart, that is for sure. What I didn’t realize at the time was that in swallowing the pill of Social Justice, I was wrapping up my latent and probably justifiably-decaying sense of guilt and shame (From where? I dont’ know. Protestantism probably.) in a cocoon of abstraction and insulation. This would shelter me from any critique of my actual character for years to come. Let’s face it, no one is inherently bad because of their race, class, gender, language, or ability — including white people, including me. But if I tell you that I’m cool because I’m really not cool because of all these fairly average facets of my birth, genetics, and upbringing then you’ll think I’m cool, or you’ll just be confused and weirded out by the really intense and pitiful white guy at the party that can’t loosen up and have a fun time. I mean white guys already have a hard enough time dancing… Why do you gotta burden them further with indoctrination and theories of justifiable self-hate? … Anyways, the point is that Social Justice creates Social Justice Zombies who internalize binary and divisive categorizations of people and then proceed to point fingers at themselves and others who they perceive to have privilege (privileged brains, want to eat…!). It’s an easy way to create — or limit yourself to — a small cadre of similarly-minded and small-minded people with which to launch lengthy verbal attacks at the world with the Critical Catapult of Political Correctness. In short, it’s a great way to not grow. Label yourself in order to stop growing.

And that is what I did.

I wrote long treatises and short poems, prosy things that didn’t rhyme, back then. Used words like agency and superiority and allies a lot. Very little of it defined. Where in truth agency was the willingness to confine yourself and curtail your own natural thoughts and desires, sublimating your feelings, and sacrificing yourself to the greater good of Diversity, Democracy, and Socialism — to all the Heavenly Abstractions of Perfect Righteousness, in fact. I talked about reprogramming myself to have no ego, melting into something greater than myself, a flipped world of hyper-New-Age spirituality and black presidents — oh, wait… A flipped world where instead of white people being evil, they were good, but no better than any one of any other color. In fact, maybe we would do away with color then. Maybe we would lose our color and our form, all melting into a primordial human swamp of hive mind mentalities and dogmatic sputtering spontaneous movements. Wouldn’t it be grand? We wouldn’t need allies any more. We would be The Ally. We would be our own Ally, supporting our own decisions, every whim and fanciful notion 100%. Pure genius!

In truth, I felt inferior. Best to tell yourself that you’re actually superior but don’t deserve it right? … No, not really, I’m kidding. That’s just confusing. It’s best to be honest with yourself. Acknowledge where you are. Have you hurt anyone today? Have you gotten out of bed? If the answers are No to the first and Yes to the second then you’re doing pretty good. No need to hate yourself for being a white person or a straight guy or anything else.

Social Justice was my opium. It lulled me into a deadly slumber. The early artifacts of Thrivenotes give hints of this — I was asleep, I was blind, I was naive. While I don’t think it a complete waste to try to base a blog on Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, as I did, what I probably needed was not to espouse liberal philosophy and try to convert strangers to egalitarianism through an obscure blog in some tucked-away corner of the internet… Instead, what I needed was a bit more Love, a bit more of a sense of Belonging (but to a community of fun-loving, non-judgmental people), and then to work hard to deserve the feelings of Self-Esteem that I desired as a young man about to enter the field of public school teaching as a noob who still looked like he was in high school.

MaslowsHierarchyOfNeedsSo now let’s return to the tagline again:

We welcome chaos with calm compassion.

What was this chaos? Apparently I welcomed it. Was it my own expected emotional turmoil and self-inflicted insults of unloveability? My own ego destruction? Perhaps more than an abstraction… Perhaps more than symbolic self-obliteration… Perhaps, in a way, it was prescient.

I certainly wouldn’t want a world of Sameness. I want a word that is dynamic and yet orderly; complex, yet navigable. Perhaps chaos was the expectation of conflict with those who would inevitably disagree with me. I was the only one of my four male roommates who thought we were living in a Patriarchy. They all thought we were living in a Matriarchy, by contrast. This caused me to experience chaos. Perhaps this chaos was my other drug. Perhaps chaos was the feeling of trying to stick to my lonely dogma while people around me were trying desperately to loosen me up, to love me. If anything, Chaos was my cocaine. Exciting, stimulating, addicting, fleeting, and ultimately unfulfilling. What I really wanted was to know what was going to happen, to know that I was going to be okay. Asking my ego to die was my way of hiding from the world. I wanted to know what to expect. I wanted regularity. I wanted to be comforted. I just didn’t know it. I was in denial.

Perhaps my Anti-SJW Journal can lead with this article:

Deconstructing Liberal Fear-based Guilt-reinforcing Obfuscating Abstractions for the Purpose of Liberating Feaful and Isolated Young White Men

Now let’s get down to it: I was a grad-student who shouldered overwhelming perennial social and environmental issues in order to feel worthy when I didn’t. I was scared to enter the real world, where growth is slow and painstaking. But Thank God I climbed down from that Awful Ivory Tower of Indoctrination. The people there, the Multicultural Education professors to the greatest extent, seemed quite unhappy. The serious education researchers and philosophers seemed the happiest. Perhaps because they were less encumbered by lofty, glorified notions of constant revolution and idealized vernaculars.

The exciting thing about all this for me is that I’m noticing I feel more excited about life with each passing day. I am looking for more and more people of differing dispositions with whom to exchange ideas and enter into friendships. My previous schema and idealism had me cut off from the true diversity of the world, one which is not static like the identities of a multiculturalist worldview.

I feel so lucky to have been able to let go of so much. To have left some things undone.

Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is a nobler art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials.— Lin Yutang

Life is, in many ways, simpler and more nuanced, slower-paced and more exciting than I ever would have expected.

I can’t wait to see how the next eight years turn out.

7
Dec

Minimal Effective Stack, v2.0

by adminadam in articles

The Stack

  1. Creatine — 5g powder, AM
  2. Noopept — 10mg capsule, AM/noon/PM
  3. CDP-choline — 400mg capsule, AM/PM
  4. Modafinil — 100-200mg tablet, AM
  5. Ashwagandha — 570mg capsule, AM/PM
  6. Rhodiola — 500mg capsule, AM
  7. Probiotics — one capsule, AM
  8. Cod Liver Oil — three 650mg soft-gels, AM/PM
  9. Nicotine Gum — 1mg gum, PM
  10. Melatonin — 1mg tablet, Night

Changes Since Version 1

I have switched out piracetam for noopept. My main reasoning is to reduce the quantity of both powders and capsules that I consume. So I can cut my total piracetam powder levels from what they were previously — about six grams per day — to just three 10mg capsules per day of noopept.

I have added CPD-choline back in. While I have never experience an acetylcholine-depletion headache from taking racetams, I have heard that CDP-choline helps maintain cognitive abilities under sleep deprivation and also can help with dry eyes, both of which I experience at times.

I have removed Bacopa and added Ashwagandha. This was a hard choice which I took a long time to arrive at. Bacopa is lauded as the only effective, cheap, and safe way to truly improve your memory from a young-healthy subject baseline. But it made me excessively sleepy and caused me extreme stomach upset whenever I consumed it without food. These simple hindrances were what led me to cut it from my stack. While I enjoyed its anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effects, I had experienced stronger effects of that nature from Ashwagandha, an all-around resiliency-enhancing herbal supplement also from the Ayurvedic tradition. Ashwagandha improves immunity, reduces stress, and reduces insomnia in many subjects. I have experienced reduced stress and anxiety. Other effects are questionably related to many of the supplements I take, like Modafinil and Creatine for enhanced energy and motivation. Ashwagandha may also be contributing to these positive outcomes.

I have changed from Fish Oil to Cod Liver Oil. Cod Liver Oil is said to contain more Vitamin A and D. I take these soft-gels in ample quantities, sometimes up to nine a day, if I feel like I need the Vitamin D for enhanced immunity or serotonin production in the winter months.

I dropped Lion’s Mane Mushroom after listening to a podcast on the medicinal mushroom industry. It seems that the quality of many of these supplements is suspect, with the greater-guarantees-of-quality brands costing an arm and a leg. I’d prefer to save the money.

I have added Melatonin to the list. In fact, I have always used Melatonin to get to sleep faster, fight insomnia, and serve as an anti-oxidant. Now that I’m using lower doses of 1-2mg per night, I feel more refreshed waking up than I used to when I took between 3mg and 6mg. Research shows that 0.5mg to 1mg is the most effective dose. Melatonin is especially helpful if you are in front of bright screens with blue light in the evening, or if you drink lots of caffeinated beverages, or if you take modafinil mid-day or — heaven forbid — late in the day.

What I’ve Kept the Same

Creatine is a godsend for athletes. I am running regularly now, in addition to lifting weights, and I find I have the energy to give an extra push at the end of nearly all of my workouts because of Creatine. It is also said to boost cognition in individuals with low natural levels of Creatine in their diets.

Modafinil keeps me productive and emotionally-intelligent after late nights spent hanging out with my brother or my girlfriend, or after working to the wee hours of the morning on Linux projects. Speaking of which, check out my new blog: Kernelmastery.com. You might say Modafinil is the Mascot for Kernel Mastery.

Rhodiola I would never abandon. It enhances immunity, fights stress, and helps you fight fatigue. It is a tried-and-true resiliency supplement.

Probiotics for the gut; a healthy gut for a healthy mind.

Nicotine Gum eases my stress, wakes me up on my long drives home from work, and reboots the cognitive engines after a long work day. With Nicotine Gum, I can avoid drinking large quantities of caffeine in the afternoon. Most gums come in two- or four-milligram sizes. Because one milligram is plenty for me, I simply buy the two milligram version and cut the pieces in half. Easy and cheap!

31
Oct

10 Rules for Success – Elon Musk

by adminadam in videos

  1. Never give up
  2. Really like what you do
  3. Don’t listen to your detractors
  4. Take risks, the younger the better
  5. Do something important
  6. Focus on Signal over Noise
  7. Look for other Problem Solvers to work with
  8. Attract great people; surround yourself with great people
  9. Have a great product, one that is miles ahead of the competition
  10. Work super hard, particularly if you’re starting a company