11
Dec

Konkin Replies to Rothbard: In Defense of Agorism

by adminadam in essays

Samuel Edward Konkin III replies to Murray Rothbard’s critique of Agorism, the counter-economic school of Anarchism.

Agorism Definition

Murray N. Rothbard’s vigorous assault is refreshing; I’m not sure even I would have taken my first major theoretical attempt seriously if it had not evoked Dr. Rothbard at his trenchant top-of-form. After all, Rothbard and his neo-Romantic view of Ideas as almost clashing super-heroes and villains inspired and maintained many, if not most, of us libertarian activists, most assuredly myself.

Having been offered a field of honour, Rothbard throws the gauntlet down swiftly: “I believe Konkin’s agorism to be a total failure.” From then on, it’s lunge, parry and slash.

In fine form, Rothbard, alas, is decidedly short of actual weapons. His accusation of a fatal flaw—seemingly the fatal flaw—of agorism is so irrelevant to the basis of agorism that it is barely mentioned en passant and in a footnote of the New Libertarian Movement (footnote * p. 21)

Before I dismiss it as criticism of agorism, let me point out that a real debate is justified here between Rothbard (and many, many others, to be sure) and myself (and quite a few) on the validity of hiring oneself out.  The necessity of it is in question (cybernetics and robotics increasingly replace drudgery—up to and including management activity); the psychology of it is in question (selling one’s personal activity under another’s direction and supervision encourages dependency and authoritarian relationships); and the profit in it is open to question (only the rarest skills—acting, art, superscience—command anywhere near the market reward of even low-level entrepreneurship).

Having said that, it remains that this debate is irrelevant in the context of the validity of agorism.  Surely, both Rothbard and I would agree on the desirability of increase of entrepreneurs in our society; surely we would both desire more entrepreneurs of libertarianism. Rothbard would simply “let it happen” (laisser passer), finding the origins of entrepreneurs mysterious. My own experience is that entrepreneurs are made, not born, and not with that great a difficulty, so that “entrepreneurizing (the production of) entrepreneurs” is a profitable activity.

But ceteris paribus, as the Maestro says, and let us hold the number of entrepreneurs constant.  How does that affect agorism?  It makes it difficult to convert libertarians to counter-economic entrepreneurism, but they still can (and ought) to become counter-economic capitalists and workers—even academics! (George H. Smith has blazed trails in becoming a largely counter-economic philosopher!) But when we’re talking about converting maybe two million libertarians (at present) to counter-economics and forty million or so counter-economists (already proven to have a strong entrepreneurial component) to libertarianism, the loss of a few thousand extra entrepreneurs seems less than crucial. Moreover, a degree of overlap exists between libertarians and counter-economists—a high degree in my associations.

Again, in passing only, my own observations are that independent contracting lowers transactions costs—in fact, nearly eliminates them relative to boss/worker relationships running the gamut from casual labor with annoying paperwork and records to full-scale Krupp worker welfarism. But this is an empirical question, one, as Mises would say, not even for economists but economic historians.  Why my Austrian credentials should be called into question over such an observation is inexplicable—save as an act of verbal intimidation.  En garde, then.

And wage-labor’s historical benefit may have been as great as the invention of the diaper—but surely toilet-training (in this case, entrepreneurialization) is even a more significant advance?

With the side-excursion over, we turn to Counter-Economics, admittedly the basis of agorism and the New Libertarian Strategy. Rothbard finds NLM neglecting the “white market”—yet there is one crucial point on which it is most definitely not neglected, here or in my other Counter-Economic writing. The agorist imperative is to transform the White into Black.  Nothing could be clearer.  To do so is to create a libertarian society.  What else can a libertarian society mean in economic terms but removing market activity from the control of the State?  Market activity not under control of the State is black market.  Market activity under the control of the State is white market and we are against it.

To illustrate, slaves building pyramids are white market.  Slaves who run away, deal on the side stones and tools they ripped off, and otherwise engage in non-slave activity are black market—and free to that extent. What should the libertarian view be toward white-market pyramid building? Or, if you think pyramids would not exist in a free society but aqueducts might, what should our new attitude be toward aqueduct building on the white market vs. black-market water smuggling?  New Libertarians urge the slaves to screw the aqueduct and go for their private buckets until such time as aqueducts can be built under voluntary arrangements.  Would Rothbard suggest anything else? Gradual phasing out of aqueduct construction and hence gradual phasing out of slavery?

Rothbard’s abolitionist credentials are not challenged, though my own treatment on such matters may impel me otherwise. But if a mainly-innocent businessman who pays taxes is enslaved to that extent surely his going black by dodging or defying the taxes (whichever works best) is the immediate emancipation of this slave. How can Rothbard reject any counter-economic moves by a white marketeer that has less than 100% risk of apprehension without yielding his abolitionist bona fides?

Rothbard’s listing of counter-economic services and goods are interesting in one respect: of “jewels, gold, drugs, candy bars, stockings, etc,” only one—drugs—is mentioned in the Manifesto. True, Counter-Economics is only now being published chapter by chapter, but even so, the few examples I gave were anything but a few service industries or easily concealed goods. Here is a list, sifted from pages 16 and 17, which were mentioned: “food to television repair;” an entire country “Burma is almost a total black market”—this does include heavy industry, although Burma has less than the heavy industry of India which is mostly black; the large “black labor” force of Western Europe; housing in the Netherlands; tax evasion in Denmark; currency control evasion in France; “underground economy” tax-free exchanges in the U.S.; “drugs including laetrile and forbidden medical material;” “prostitution, pornography, bootlegging, false identification papers, gambling, and proscribed sexual conduct between consenting adults;” trucking (the majority, by the way); smuggling at all levels; and misdirection of government regulators. All of these are not petty but, consciously or otherwise, aggregate big businesses!

Automobiles are made counter-economically. Let me count the ways: shipping them across borders and evading taxes or controls—whether physically or on paper; illegal alien labor for assembly-line production; skimming of parts by management, labor, or even with knowledge of the owners, which then go to produce custom cars; auto plant executives hired as “independent consultants”; design, research, engineering, executive and computer “consultants” all paid in partial or full counter-economic terms; union “corruption” to make sweetheart deals to avoid labor (State) regulations; OSHA and other inspectors bought off or misdirected; “unsold” product written off inventory and taxes and then sold; . . . forget it, I cannot possibly count all the ways.  And next to autos, steel and cement have positively unsavory reputations—when it comes to “white collar” crime.

But there is a problem of scale here.  Large, cartelized industries can buy politicians and gain their advantages from the State directly.  True, anyone about to be apprehended by the State, can, should, and does payoff, bribe, and apply “grease” to the State’s enforcers.  But what highly competitive industry with a large number of producers can effectively buy votes and politicians—and hence be tempted into using their political clout offensively?  Big industry in the cartelized sense is no breeding ground for libertarian support but rather for the State’s vested interests. However, there is no need to confuse large scale of production with oligopolist characteristics, as Rothbard seems to be doing here.

Finally, as we close out this area, Rothbard accuses me of ignoring the working class.  Considering how often he’s had the charge leveled at him, one might expect a bit more perceptivity if not sensitivity.  What are plumbers, mechanics, carpenters, welders, drivers, farm workers, pilots, actors, accountants, engineers, technicians, lab assistants, computer programmers and just keypunch operators, nurses, midwives, paramedics and orthomedics (doctors), salesmen, public relations people, bartenders, waitresses, writers, factory workers, lawyers, executives, and all types of repairmen if not workers, covering the entire spectrum of proletarianism?

All of that list are at least 20% counter-economic and many are over 50%.  If they do not take the first step by becoming independent contractors toward economic liberty, then their employer does (tax-free tips for waitresses, off-the-book illegal alien factory workers, agents handling it for actors, writers, and so on).  I challenge Dr. Rothbard to find any legitimate economic field (not serving the State) that cannot be counter-economized, ten that cannot be counter-economized without organizational or technological innovation, or a hundred that cannot be counter-economized without significant gain in organizational efficiency and profit. “Konkinism” has plenty to say to everyone who is not a statist.

Rothbard’s claim that political action is superior and preferable to civil disobedience in the lightening of the levy is an incredible distortion of history coming from the one who converted me to revisionism.  There has never been a single repeal of taxation or significant cut (save a few minor ones in recent years for purposes of Keynesian tinkering and now Lafferite “less gets more”) that did not result from mass refusal to pay or the threat of such disobedience.  Furthermore, political action has resulted in shifts in the tax base and higher total plunder—such as the famously spectacular debacle of Proposition 13 here in California.

Rothbard’s agreement with Pyro Egon is ungraciously spurned by Mr. Egon who informs me that what he sees as my “political-like actiny” (NLA, MLL) will not generate more entrepreneurs but that entrepreneurs are indeed “make-able.”  Rothbard, in subsequent correspondence, added that he believes entrepreneurs are born and not made—or at least not make-able.

“Successful entrepreneurs are not going to be agoric theoreticians like Mr. Konkin but successful entrepreneurs period.  What do they need with Konkin and his group?” How about, “Successful businessmen are not going to be economic theoreticians like Dr. Rothbard but successful businessmen period.  What do they need of Dr. Rothbard ?”  Or “successful engineers are not going to be physics theoreticians like Dr. Einstein, . .” Or, “successful writers are not going to be English instructors like Professor Strunk . . .” Need I belablor the Rothbard fallacy?

Rothbard’s position on libertarians being dichotomized from entrepreneurs is absolutely monstrous to me.  “Libertarian” has nothing to do with what one says but with what one does.  Hence a libertarian must be more trustworthy and have a more rational understanding of the market or he/she is not a libertarian regardless of what they beguilingly profess.  This is the basis for my muckraking for which Dr. Rothbard commends me.  And, on the whole, I find the same lack of black-colored glasses in him, I hasten to add.

And what personal experience or academic study leads Rothbard to conclude that pre-libertarian counter-economists do just fine without agorists “to cheer them on and free them from guilt.” My personal experience leads me to precisely the opposite conclusion—and I have cancelled cheques of contribution and letters of gratitude to prove it.

In short, whatever planet that the good doctor is describing in contradistinction to my counter-economy sure isn’t Earth.

Rothbard’s statement that violent revolution (what other kind is there against a ruling class—would he like to mention an Establishment that stepped down peacefully?) never succeeded in history distorts either the language or history.

Either he is saying that no revolution has been libertarian enough to triumph without its contradictions bringing it down (true, but then irrelevant to bring it up as precedent) or he is saying that no group overthrew a ruling class using democratic means of oppression.  The latter is not only false but a direct reversal of history. Nearly all somewhat successful revolutions in recent history have overthrown precisely democratic trappings: American Revolutionaries vs. the democratic British Imperialists; Jacobin Revolutionaries vs. the bourgeous assemblee; Liberal Revolutionaries against the Czar’s Duma (March 1917) and the Bolshevik revolution against the Liberals and Social Democrats (November 1917); the falange against the Spanish Republic (1936); Peron’s shirtless ones against the Argentine parliament; the National Liberation Front of Vietnam vs. the South Vietnamese parliament (at least until near the end); the popular overthrow of Allende’s democratically-elected regime (with Pinochet co-opting the revolution for the military); and the recent overthrow of the democratically elected but right-wing president of El Salvador by a centrist “popular” junta.  This list is not exhaustive.  A claim that “violent revolution” has only succeeded in “democratic countries with free elections” would be nearer the mark, and is often used by Latin American as justification for preventive coups.

All of the above revolutionary groups have their credentials open to libertarian question, to be sure—but who has not so far?  To close up this side issue, either Rothbard is saying that all “violent” overthrows of States were not revolution because they were not libertarian (in which case the libertarian case is untried) or he is historically wrong.

Rothbard has chutzpah: to demand I separate libertarianism from counter-economists because the latter don’t need it—and then turn around and ask why the Russian counter-economists have not condensed into agoras. Human action is willed action; without entrepreneurs of libertarianism, it will not be sold.  Even so, my estimation of the Soviet scene matches that of several Russian dissidents that Russia is a powderkeg waiting to go up.  The Polish situation, of course, fits the agorist paradigm perfectly, right down to the counter-economic workers being co-opted by the partyarch-like Solidarity union.

Rothbard thus fails to make any substantive case against counter-economics and hence agorist strategy.  He shoots at peripherals and warps either language or history to make his case. Still, our disagreement seems to me largely one of misunderstanding, and misunderstanding of verifiable facts, not speculative theory. This is hardly surprising since—to my knowledge—we share the same premise and analytic methods.  Considering that I adopted mine from him, it’s even  less surprising.

Rothbard’s critique of New Libertarianism seems to rest on seeing tips of icebergs and dismissing the vast bases.  He sees only the one percent of the economy thought of as “black market” and not the 20-40% of the economy the IRS(!) sees as “underground” and double that to make up the whole Counter-Economy which the IRS ignores as irrelevant to taxation.  It takes a libertarian, educated by Rothbard and others, to perceive a common characteristic and sum the anti-statist whole.

And the same can be said of Rothbard’s view of my activities and the hundreds of other New Libertarian Allies around the world.  The small but warranted attention we pay to his few deviations seem prominent to him and understandably so.  The somewhat larger amount of public criticism we have of the LP and other activities he is most interested in whether in our publications or at public forums are most of what interests him and remains with him. The 10,000 people I conservatively estimate that have called themselves libertarians after primary or secondary contact with me and my hard-core allies he never met and hence they are invisible.  The network of counter-economic businesses that we are painstakingly nurturing and the millions of dollars cumulatively exchanged “invisibly” are again understandably invisible to him as well.

I for one see no real barrier to re-convergence (“regroupment” a the Marxists would say) between Rothbard and his “sane, sober, anarchist center” and us “ultra-left deviationists.”  Rothbard’s remaining criticism is really not that germane to the Manifesto itself, though it makes up the majority of his article.  Yet in some ways it is the most telling criticism of me personally in that it vitiates his compliment to my writing ability, when I must have obviously failed to communicate effectively.  Most of his criticisms of me are misreadings in the latter part, and I will but list and deny them where urgent.  Of course, the Party Question is another problem entirely.

New Libertarianism does have an organizational preference.  Other forms of organization might then be considered non-New Libertarian but not necessarily “unlibertarian” or non-agorist.  What the New Libertarian Strategy seeks is to optimalize action to lead to a New Libertarian society as quickly and cleanly as possible. Activities that lead to authoritarian dependency and passive acceptance of the State are sub-optimal and frowned on; action that is individualistic, entrepreneurial and market-organized are seen as optimal.

With that constantly in the reader’s awareness (pages 22, 23, and 24 of NLM are a long disclaimer to this very point!), it is obvious that there are no moral (other than individual self-worth) questions involved in organization and hierarchy.  (My “lumping them all together” that Rothbard decries might be considered integration of concepts by others.)

Nowhere have I ever opposed joint-stock companies (see page 23 again where they are specifically affirmed).  After I penned NLM I set up precisely that to own New Libertarian magazine.  I assume we both continue to oppose the statist perversion of joint-stock companies into limited-liability corporations.

I have never suggested “floating affinity groups.” Should Dr. Rothbard set up a general Libertarian Alliance which runs no candidates and engages in no statism, I will take out a hundred-year membership immediately. I urge him to “call me out” on this point.

I see fewer problems in organization than Rothbard does and can easily see some organizations not having any.

There is a bit or irony in Rothbard’s spirited defense of the “Kochtopus” since his own defection but I’ll let that pass.  I have to mention his secession from and opposition to it because that, effectively, ends my major objection to it and I find it relatively harmless and conceivably needing my defense in the near future as the chorus of opposition swells.  To the extent that my early attacks are responsible for the demonopolization of the Movement I am thankful.

For the record, my aim in as spectacularly drawing attention to the monocentrism around Koch’s money as I did was a warning.  Too many neo-libertarians think only taking money from the State leads to dependency and control.  True, it is not immoral in a libertarian sense to become a billionaire’s kept writer or lap-activist but it hardly serves the movement’s image or substance and hence is un-New-Libertarian.  I knew the rest of the Left would attack libertarians for being a plutocrat’s tool (as Mother Jones eventually did) and took action to show the existence of diversity and independence.   Off-hand, I’d say it worked.

I agree with all of Rothbard’s defense of millionaire libertarians and have a few (not multi-millionaires to be sure) in alliance with me.  His solution to increase competition in the Movement is and was my solution.  I doubt that having Koch compete with himself is a viable answer, though; even Rothbard seems hesitant about suggesting it.

My being “unfair to Charles Koch” requires a bit of semantic care.  I have never implied that Charles Koch personally was motivated to do anything.  Anybody’ who threw millions into the Movement with a bit of judgment in buying up institutions would have produced the same results.

I’ll take Rothbard’s and LeFevre’s—who know him personally—word that Koch is a great guy.   May he profit richly and evade the State forever!  (But may he never buy another politician.)  And may he contribute to his heart’s content to any Libertarian or Libertarian organization (save the LP). Gee, what a great movement when a poor activist like me can be so generous to an oil billionaire!

But I’ll go further than Rothbard in my willing recognition of the positive personal characteristics of the Kochtopus.  Roy Childs may be cranky and unforgiving at times but he’s a fun, erudite person of superior taste, no more deviationist than Dr. Rothbard.  Jeff Riggenbach remains a friend, associate and sometime ally even working full-time for Koch’s Libertarian Review. Joan Kennedy Taylor, Victoria Vargas, Milton Mueller—whom did I leave out?—I’ve had nothing but enjoyable contacts with them all.  Even Ed Crane(Rothbard’s—ahem—bête noire) is a laugh a minute with a ready handshake and a fast quip who serves Liberty as he sees best for him and the Movement.

May none of us ever sink to ad hominem.

Finally, the Libertarian Party.  Rothbard says he will “assume for the moment that a libertarian political party . . .  is not evil per se.” I wonder how open he would be to assuming the State is not evil per se and then continuing the discussion of some legislation, let us see where it leads him. It seems to lead to the wonder of repeal of laws.

Now Rothbard’s historical acumen seems to have failed him again.  Since when did the State repeal anything from the Corn Laws to suburban property tax unless it had authority to maintain that law?  First comes counter-economic scofflawing, then mass civil disobedience, then the threat of insurrection, and only then repeal.  No, I don’t agree with LeFevre that it is immoral to repeal the draft (assuming LeFevre would say precisely that) but it is immoral to support politicians to oppress us because they might relieve one oppression.  For all the money, time and energy that needs to go into electing a politician good on one or a few issues, how many could be directly freed and their risk of apprehension reduced in tax evading, draft evading, regulation evading, and so on? Nor do you need exhort the evaders to contribute to a noble cause but simply offer—and some sell this for exorbitant fees! —instruction on how to beat detection and watch them go for it. . . . freeing themselves, not being freed by someone else.

Votes are the “profits” of a political party.  A party is an organ of the State whose overt purpose is to vie for control of the State and whose covert one is to co-opt support—sanction of the victim. The number of votes dictates the number of successfully elected officials and their share of power and plunder and the number of those still accepting the State’s legitimacy and possible usefulness.  Crane and the Clark Campaign were only acting in accordance with their nature qua partyarch.  As Frank Chodorov might have said, “The way to get rid of sell-outs in LP jobs is to get rid of LP jobs.”

Let’s take up those political parties Rothbard finds admirable.  It is clear that the Democrats were not so lovable in Conceived in Liberty when, as Jefferson Republicans, they fought the Anti-Federalists and co-opted opposition to the Constitution.  Did Jackson, the agent of Nullification’s defeat; Van Buren, the archetype of boss politics; Polk, the anti-Mexican imperialist; or Pierce and Buchanan, the defenders of slavery: redeem this tainted beginning?

And the British Liberals were condemned by Rothbard for leading Liberty’s advocates into defense of Empire and World War.  Nor did the moderate minarchists—let alone alone the many anarchists even then—of the time have any use for Democrats or Liberals. Those minarchist reformers were then in the Free Soil Party in the U.S. and the Philosophic Radical Party in Britain, respectively.

It would be gauche of me to remind Dr. Rothbard who invented the Radical Caucus and then discarded it when it served nothing but “objectively counter-revolutionary” ends so I’ll pass this section up.

“A militant and abolitionist LP in control of Congress” begs the question—how did it get there?  How could it get there? (George Smith’s scenario seems far more plausible.  In fact, the LP will be in power during the final stages of agorist revolution to lure away our marginal allies and ensnare the unwary with “libertarian” newspeak.  The LP will be put in power as soon as the Higher Circles need it there.  I have no doubt that Dr. Rothbard will be the first to notice and denounce the collaboration.

Can you imagine slaves on a plantation sitting around voting for masters and spending their energy on campaigning and candidates when they could be heading for the “underground railway?” Surely they would choose the counter-economic alternative; surely Dr. Rothbard would urge them to do so and not be seduced into remaining on the plantation until the Abolitionist Slavemasters’ Party is elected.

Rothbard’s characterizing me as a “wrecker” is truly surprising to me considering all the libertarian organizations and publications I have built up and supported—more than anyone else save Dr. Rothbard himself, from Wisconsin to New York to California, and in nearly every state, province and country on this globe. Am I supposed to list all the libertarian groups which have not been subjected to moral attacks by me? How about every libertarian supper club in Los Angeles and New York? The Society for Individual Liberty, Society for Libertarian Life, the old California Libertarian Alliance and Texas Libertarian Alliance, the British Libertarian Alliance, the Future of Freedom annual conference, the Southern Libertarian Conference. Oh, this is ridiculous. Yes, I stopped beating my wife—even if I’m not married.

The only things I’ve wrecked are the wreckers of our once party-free movement, defense of partyarchy and compromise of libertarianism in general. Is Rothbard claiming that he averted his eyes from those leaving “The Plumb Line” because they might otherwise be doing good work?

In conclusion, Rothbard and I continue to fight for the same things—and against the same things.  Hopefully we will continue to fight in our own ways, reaching those the other missed.  And most hopefully may we reduce our time and energy spent on fighting each other to free resources against the common enemy.  I shall let no outstretched hand be passed up.

If the New Libertarians and the Rothbardian Centrists must devote some time to our differences (“engage in Revolutionary Dialogue”), let it be devoted first to understanding each other—as this exchange is devoted to—and then resolving the differences.  Ah, then let the State and its power elite quake!


SOURCE: http://www.anthonyflood.com/konkinreplytorothbard.htm

ORIGINAL SOURCE: From Strategy of the New Libertarian Alliance, Number One, May Day 1981, 11-19.  It is a response Rothbard’s critique of the New Libertarian Manifesto [NLM], which critique may be read here.  I’d be grateful to learn of any surrebuttal by Rothbard.  The text of the second edition of the NLM is available here, as is Wally Cooper’s Agorist Class Theory, which builds on Konkin’s work, here.  For more on Konkin, see novelist J. Neil Schuman’s personal tribute here.


Learn more about Agorism at agorism.info.

5
Dec

Extropy, the Market, and Pencils

by adminadam in videos

We need free association.

Extropy, our web of knowledge, the dynamism of modern society, the foundation for and end-result of our labor, wealth, and prosperity — all of this is needed for us to be able to make one pencil. The Market is the driving force: people exchanging their labor for money. Seemingly mundane, ordinary pencils serve as an excellent example of complexity, diversity of roles and labor and materials, and voluntary cooperation. No one is forcing the lumberjacks to fell the trees, nor the miners to gather copper, zinc, and aluminum — nor is anyone mandating that the end product be cylindrical, or hexagonal, or octagonal, etc. Coercion has no place here.

Self-motivated individuals cooperate to earn themselves a living. And we reap the benefits. I would posit, ultimately, that coercion, additional oversight, and regulation of the myriad interactions, exchanges, and processes involved in pencil-making would not fundamentally make pencils better. It would most likely serve to reduce choice and variety, and increase costs along the way, with the additional downside of potentially reducing quality. Indeed, what could be improved through government mandate in the case of pencils? Do we want them all to necessarily be yellow and hexagonal? I certainly don’t want my choices to be reduced arbitrarily.

pencils

3
Dec

Decentralization

by adminadam in videos

  1. DVR’s were to Pre-DVR TV-viewers as Bitcoin is to Traditional Fiat-Money Users and Banking Clients.
  2. DVR’s were to Pre-DVR TV-viewers as Maidsafe is to Traditional Bloggers, Social-Media Users, and Content Sharers.

Eliminate the middle-man.

  • Cut out the banks that are sucking you dry with fees and bureaucracy.
  • Cut out the governments that are spying on you.
  • Cut out the tech companies that are harvesting and selling your data.

Decentralize: Learn about …

22
Nov

Personal Freedom

by adminadam in art

PersonalFreedomisthefoundationforPeaceandProsperity

個人的自由が平和と繁栄の元。

KOJIN TEKI JIYUU GA HEIWA TO HANEI NO MOTO.

Personal Freedom is the foundation for Peace and Prosperity.

4
Nov

Piracetam: The Original Nootropic Drug

by adminadam in articles, videos

Piracetam is a water-soluble white powder originally derived from GABA with extremely low toxicity which has been shown to provide numerous benefits to the brain:

  • It reduces the symptoms of motion and altitude sickness.
  • It protects brain membranes under low oxygen conditions.
  • It enhances the uptake of acetylcholine in the brain, which can speed up information processing.
  • It enhances communication between the two hemispheres of the brain through the corpus callosum.
  • It enhances short term memory, verbal learning, and may boost attention and creativity in normal, healthy subjects.

On top of these myriad benefits, there are very few reported side-effects. In rare cases, hypersensitivity is reported.

Recommended doses range from 1.6 grams to 2.4 grams, two or three times per day.

My recommended supplier is New Star Nootropics. When taking Piracetam, I definitely noticed significantly better word recall and verbal fluency, in addition to substantial improvements in my focus. I also noticed more colors and details visually when interacting in my environment, occasional improvements in reaction speed (catching falling objects), and improved listening ability, especially in regards to appreciating the music I heard more so than I would normally.

Read more research summaries and analysis on Piracetam at Examine.com: examine.com/supplements/Piracetam/

16
Oct

Bitcoin: Beyond Mere Money

by adminadam in videos

Bitcoin has many other uses besides just as a currency…

It is a transparent and efficient payment network:

  • Nearly fraud-proof; miners compete to verify transactions.
  • Consensus-based peer-to-peer network prevents the double-spending of coins.
  • All nodes/miners in the network maintain a copy of the open transaction ledger, the Blockchain.

Bitcoins, Millibits, and Satoshi’s are programmable:

  • Coins can used as tokens for any number of physical goods: one barrel of oil, one vote, a share in a company, one kilowatt-hour, the sky is the limit.
  • Coins can be used to record important information for eternity: digital copies of birth/death/marriage certificates, artistic licenses, proof of the existence of almost any document imaginable.

Payments and transactions can be automated, allowing for human-machine and machine-machine interactions:

  • Drones can do automatic identification of users/clients through the Blockchain to deliver packages.
  • Vending machines can do their own inventory tracking and ordering, and even make payments to suppliers.
  • Companies and organizations can programmatically distribute budgets to different departments according to established contracts or constitutions.
1
Oct

Human Innovation vs. State Control

by adminadam in videos

Defense Distributed‘s new promotional video:

Ghost Gunner

Defense Distributed’s stated aims are as follows:

“To defend the human and civil right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the United States Constitution and affirmed by the United States Supreme Court; to collaboratively produce, publish, and distribute to the public without charge information and knowledge related to the digital manufacture of arms.”

They are a pending 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in the State of Texas.

DD’s founders, Ben Denio and Cody Wilson seek to create a “a political and legal vehicle for demonstrating and promoting the subversive potential of publicly-available 3D Printing technologies.” To that effect, on July 27th, 2012 they launched the Wiki Weapon Project — the effort to create and release the files for the world’s first printable handgun.

The History of the DD is still in the making; the dust has not settled:

In August 2012, Indiegogo.com removed DD’s inaugural fundraising campaign from its website, citing a terms of service violation. This removal prompted stirrings in the 3DP and tech blogs, and led DD to court the Bitcoin community to help fund the Wiki Weapon. By September 2012, DD had raised enough money to set to prototyping and experimentation, when industry player Stratasys scandalously revoked its lease with the company and quickly repossessed its printer. This repossession, one of the first of its kind, made world news, and the Wiki Weapon found commensurate support.

By December 2012, DD began prototyping more durable rifle receivers for the popular AR-15, a fact not missed in American gun politics after that month’s Sandy Hook Massacre. By January 2013, DD had created the gun file repository DEFCAD and released the files for the first printable AR-15 standard capacity magazines. DD followed these achievements in March with the files for the first durable printed AR-15 rifle receiver.

On May 5, 2013, DD released the files for the Liberator pistol — the culmination of the Wiki Weapon Project. This release was met by a flurry of US governmental censures and investigations, and DD is still involved in a conflict with the US State Department over whether there is a requirement to seek government approval before releasing privately generated gun files into the public domain.

And now the Ghost Gunner has entered the scene…

Ghost Gunner is a miniature CNC machine designed to automatically manufacture publicy created designs with nearly zero user interaction. No prior CNC knowledge or experience is required to manufacture from design files. Defense Distributed’s first design is the venerable AR-15 lower receiver. Ghost Gunner automatically finds and aligns your 80% lower receiver to the machine, with simple installation instructions, point and click software and all required tools. Just follow a few simple instructions to mount your 80% lower receiver, tighten a couple screws (with simple tools we provide), and on day one, Ghost Gunner can help you legally manufacture unserialized firearms in the comfort of your own home.

GhostGunner3DPwithLowerReceiver
[Read more at Ghostgunner.net]

“One of these centuries, the brutes, private or public, who believe that they can rule their betters by force, will learn the lesson of what happens when brute force encounters mind and force.”

     — Ragnar Danneskjöld (from Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand)

27
Sep

Common Core Standards: Five Big ‘Real Deal’ Ideas

by adminadam in articles, education, humor

Based on “From Common Core Standards to Curriculum: Five Big Ideas” by Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins.

IDEA #1 – Common Core Standards have new emphases and require careful reading.

To fully comprehend the BRAND-SPANKING-NEWNESS of the Common Core Standards you have to read them very carefully, because A) you are biased and think it’s just the “Same Old, Same Old”, and B) you don’t read things carefully. They are actually, really, truly new. Oh, yeah, and the Common Core Standards are Beautiful, Special, and Unique Snowflakes – each and every one of them. Read them daily with your microscope, magnifying glass, or monocle and (re)discover their never-ending novelty.

IDEA #2 – Standards are not curriculum.

Standards are not curriculum; goals are not processes; vision is not logistics; overall philosophy is not a set of specific instructions for instruction. Don’t forget it. Oh, and because you weren’t aware of any of this it most likely means you have been “(m)arching through a list of topics or skills” and calling it “guaranteed and viable” in your teaching. And this ain’t never gonna yield the “Sophisticated Outcomes that the Standards envision”. So quit throwin’ your meaningless labels on what you’re doing and callin’ it good, yo! Also, don’t you dare forget to capitalize the ‘Standards’ in ‘Common Core Standards'; them dudes is holy, you see?

IDEA #3 – Standards need to be “unpacked”.

The Common Core Standards are not one whole, but four, read: Four Cohesive Whole’s. And the Whole’s gotta be unpacked, ya’ll.

  • One Whole is Long Term Transfer Goals. Meaning kids apply what they learn from your class to what they’re doing in other classes, and possibly even in real life. Transfer that one to your Long-Term Practice – ‘cause I bet you never would’ve!
  • Whole Number Dos is Overarching Understandings. Meaning that students will now be able to build an archway over their heads under which they can stand. Comprende, muchacho? In this way they will truly understand what bridge builders go through on a day-to-day basis. Pretty cool, huh?
  • Whole Number Three is Overarching Essential Questions, so students can be empowered to ask things like ‘What is the quickest, most effective way for me to build this bridge so I can drive over it into the Land of Bridges which is college?’. Or, ‘What is the meaning of life if I’m ditched by my homecoming date?’.
  • The Last Whole is Cornerstone Tasks. Neither stones nor one-time items on a to-do list, these are life-long performances that students will learn to act out. Things like teamwork, creativity, or pretending to be able to use a computer. This brings us into the 21st century, which, by the way, is the New Century that began 14 years ago. So we’re a bit behind, you see? Because that’s when computers, the internet, creativity, and the idea of team-work were invented. Let’s get these kids ready for the year 2000. You may not know this, but at least two states have already brought their Art Standards up to the Year 2000 Level: Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. They had content experts and experienced teachers (yes, both!) unpack — literally ‘take out of their backpacks’ — brand new Next Generation Arts Standards. Things you couldn’t even imagine before the creation of the internet, like building Mood-based Color-changing Dubstep/Techno Unicorn Mobile Speakers (which now hang from the ceilings in every classroom in their states). Rumor has it students in Massachusetts will be adding RC laser-pointer horns to the unicorns sometime during second semester of this year. And in April, Pennsylvania school districts will begin auditions for endurance violinists who can stand under and accompany the unicorn dupstep mobiles throughout the school day. What’s your state doing?

IDEA #4 – A coherent curriculum is mapped backward from desired performances.

Map it backwards. Start from the end-point and walk backwards to the beginning. Students need to see this kind of performance modeled. This is the only way they will know where they’re going, and the only way you’ll know for sure how to get them there. Do the same with your curriculum; write it backwards. (.noitautcnup ruoy htiw gnitrats yrT)

IDEA #5 – Standards come alive through assessments.

Holy cow! Assessments are what bring the Standards to life. The Standards were already holy, of course; now they will be transubstantiated into Performances, Quizzes, Tests, and Country Reports. It is Apotheosis: Physical. Let there be Cornerstone Tasks!

19
Sep

My Current Stack

by adminadam in articles

Nootropics are substances which either boost some aspect of your cognition and mental performance or stabilize your mood — all with either negligible or zero negative side effects. Think of them as safe smart drugs if you wish. Most of the substances in my stack (i.e., daily regimen) below are considered to be nootropics. While some aren’t generally thought of as “smart”, others aren’t necessarily considered to have negligible side effects either. I include them in the interest of transparency. All together they help me perform better at work and at home.

Hey, that’s not a nootropic!

Some nootropic enthusiasts and researchers would object to my including Modafinil or Activated Charcoal in the list. Just as a quick example, in Modafinil’s case, going by the ‘Safe’ criterion of the definition of nootropics, it’s a pretty easy one to discount. Just look at this short, incomplete list of possible side-effects:

  • Dehydration
  • Insomnia
  • Heart palpilations
  • Irritability
  • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome
  • Nausea
  • Etc. (The list goes on…)

Surely it should be used with discretion. Activated Charcoal on the other hand, simply has very few effects in general, and likely very insubstantial and/or indirect impacts on cognition and mental performance. One might say it’s not so ‘Smart’, although it’s definitely a ‘Safe’ one. I use it for detox from various substances such as gluten and sulfates, certain pathogens, and to treat nausea and indigestion — and this absolutely helps me perform better when I eat or drink something that’s not good for me, for instance.

Iodine is another one that may not have proven cognition-boosting effects for the general population either, but it’s really good for fluoride, bromide, and chloride detox. So if you’re exposed to high amounts of these guys, iodine might be helpful for you, especially in terms of thyroid and metabolic health.

Now for the list… Debate away in the comments if you object to any of what I include. And feel free to ask questions, either in the comments or via email! I can be reached at 84adam [at] thrivenotes [dot] com if you want to speak with me one-on-one.

SECTION I — What do I take?

My current stack includes the following:

  1. ModafinilModalert, 200mg, weekday mornings. Sometimes 100mg if I slept 8 hours the night before.
  2. Caffeine/L-theanineNatural Stacks’ Smart Caffeine, with 100mg Caffeine and 200mg L-theanine per capsule, 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, whenever I have caffeine, including when taking Smart Caffeine.
  5. AniracetamNew Star Nootropics powder, 1 gram, every 3-4 hours.
  6. NoopeptNew Star Nootropics powder, 30mg, two to three times per day, every 6-8 hours.
  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 with water in the morning, sometimes with black pepper for better absorption.
  13. MelatoninSchiff’s Melatonin Ultra/Knock-Out, 3mg, one or two capsules, 30+ minutes before bed. Also contains L-theanine, GABA, Magnesium, Vitamin B6, and Chamomile and Valerian Root extracts.
  14. Activated CharcoalNature’s Way, one or two capsules as necessary, with lots of water, usually in the evening.

AND DON’T FORGET…

  • Exercise: At least 20 minutes per day. I do various body-weight exercises, push-ups, pull-ups, crunches, planks, squats, and lunges, plus 3-5 minutes of splits-stretch each morning. I also run or walk for 10-12 minutes every morning. I occasionally hop on the slackline too.
  • Sleep: I sleep 6.5 or 7 hours per week night on average, 8-10 hours on weekend nights.
  • Meditation/Relaxation/Relationships: I meditate on affirmations and gratitude for a couple minutes on most days. I also do deep and slow belly-breaths as needed, between 3 and 5 in a row when I am feeling anxious or stressed. In all my interpersonal interactions I focus on positive, appropriate eye-contact, and respectful personal boundaries, namely: not making assumptions about anyone/anything; waiting for people to say what they want to say; stating my needs effectively; and generally being affirming for others as well as for myself.

SECTION II — Why do I take it?

NOTE: Please click the name of each compound to see general information from Examine.com, including information on the supplements’ efficacy, typical dosages, interactions with other drugs, and side-effects. Exceptions include Bulletproof Coffee, Butter/Cod Liver Oil, and Activated Charcoal: Bulletproof Coffee links to the Bulletproof Exec page which tells the story behind the development of the coffee and the inclusion of the butter and coconut oils; Butter Oil and Cod Liver Oil links to the Weston A. Price Foundation page on the benefits of Cod Liver Oil; and Activated Charcoal links to the Nature’s Way product page again.

  1. Modafinil — Modafinil is a very powerful anti-fatigue, anti-exhaustion drug. It’s used by pro-athletes who want to exercise harder, top-executives who want to work longer hours, and college students who want to pull all-nighters. It is used more and more around the world because it basically allows you to not feel the effects from not sleeping enough. On top of that, it’s safer than many alternatives, namely: Adderall and Ritalin. As I stated earlier, however, it does have a number of possible, negative side-effects, like heart palpitations and insomnia. For more warnings, see r/Nootropics’ Modafinil Warnings. For me the worst thing that happens is if I don’t drink about 2 liters of water in the first half of the day, or let’s say within 6 hours of taking my 200mg modafinil tablet, I get stomach pain from dehydration. I really demands of you that you chug your water. As for the benefits, with modafinil, I can work 11-13 hour days as a teacher, stay focused, and get home with enough energy to spend quality time with my wife, make and eat dinner, and get ready for bed. It’s really astonishing how much my work capacity has increased since starting taking modafinil. Initially my main problem was simply trying to stay focused for 12 hours of straight work per day. Now I can do it just fine, but really it was an emotionally taxing endeavor for the first year or so. This has more to do with my growing into my job and learning how much I love exercise and sleep and their benefits, however. Since becoming more accustomed to my job, and since beginning daily body-weight exercise, and maybe eating a bit better (more fat and less carbs and no sugar or gluten), I have the emotional staying power to fully take advantage of what modafinil brings to the table. Since I know it is a drug to which one can become tolerant, I take breaks on the weekends and during breaks from school. Usually I do 5 days on of 200mg. Sometimes I’ll make one of those days a 100mg day, but only when I feel fully rested and healthy. A final point on the benefits — it also seems to make me more confident and serious in my work. These are positive outcomes for me, however, I have seen studies in which participants taking modafinil were shown to be overestimating their own abilities at a statistically significant level above placebo/control-group. If I can track it down I’ll link to the study. Just be aware that it could have this confidence/arrogance-boosting effect for you, too!
  2. Caffeine/L-theanine — I used to drink coffee all day long every day, up to 8 strong cups. I had a lot of nervous-energy and muscle tension. Over the last 6 months I’ve cut back significantly by switching to Smart Caffeine and by paying attention to my caffeine intake. Smart Caffeine, or caffeine taken with L-theanine, doesn’t lead to the same jitteriness or muscle tension because L-theanine basically counterbalances, or negates, the negative side-effects of caffeine. The result for me is much greater focus when I need to get work done. I’m not as antsy. I am happy to report that with this I’ve cut my caffeine from an average of probably 800 to 1000mg daily to 300-400mg daily. My sleep quality is improving with this, too.
  3. Decaf Bulletproof Coffee — Since adding this to my stack in the past 3 months or so, I’ve noticed more mental energy, and a rush of it at that, when I drink this while taking my other nootropics. The coffee here is free of mold-toxins and full of antioxidants. When combined with the fats in the form of butter and coconut oil it not only tastes good, but it also feeds healthy gut bacteria while giving your brain ample energy in the form of ketone-bodies, the most easily absorbed form of energy which your brain can immediately put to good use. I usually forgo breakfast because the fats provide my brain with enough fuel that I don’t feel hungry. I’m effectively doing intermittent fasting every day because of this; I eat dinner, go to sleep, wake up, drink bulletproof coffee, and then don’t eat again until lunch (around 18 hours fasting). This allows healing to take place throughout my body as it’s not digesting food. See Dr. Mercola’s Intermittent Fasting Infographic for more on this aspect. For those who are curious, yes, I do use the Upgraded Brain Octane Oil, which is basically super-concentrated MCT oil with just the C-8 MCT, a specific Medium-Chain Triglyceride found in coconut oil which is most easily utilized by the brain. Supposedly this makes it 18 times more powerful than regular coconut oil.
  4. L-theanine — I take extra L-theanine for added calm and to balance out the fact that modafinil sometimes makes me irritable. Also, knowing that L-theanine has a short half-life, I take extra to help account for caffeine’s long (6-8 hour) half-life. This is also nice to have on hand in case I’m out drinking caffeinated coffee somewhere.
  5. Aniracetam — One of the most important nootropics in my stack. It greatly reduces my anxiety, wakes up my brain almost immediately, and helps me focus and remember things. Some users report that it helps them with creativity as well. When I take it I fill a 1 gram scoop with the powder and place it under my tongue for about 30 seconds or a minute before drinking it down with water. Holding it under the tongue allows it to take effect more quickly as it can absorb through the gums. If you read more on aniracetam you will certainly hear about its awful taste. Personally, while I didn’t particularly like the taste, at this point it’s no different than say white flour to me. I guess I’m just used to it. As far as its mechanism of action, it is thought to increases acetylcholine uptake in the brain, as well as to reduce desensitization to glutamate at AMPA receptor sites. This amounts to (temporarily) greater information processing abilities, enhanced memory, and a reduction in social anxiety and stress. The effects last for about 2-3 hours, so I take it numerous times, perhaps up to 5 times per day.
  6. Noopept — A Russian compound based on Piracetam and used to treat age-related cognitive decline. Noopept seems to stimulate NGF and BDNF in animal studies, but has not conclusively been shown to produce the same effects in humans. For me it seems to improve my focus and short/medium-term memory. It also gives me a boost in mental energy, albeit in a more subtle and targeted way than caffeine or modafinil; I feel ready to process more information. Visual information processing is also increased for me; text seems to pop or jump off of the pages. Like with aniracetam, I hold the powder under my tongue for a minute before drinking it down. This one doesn’t really taste like anything. I believe noopept pairs well with aniracetam. Noopept is more brainy and aniracetam more zen, but they both enhance cognition generally. They are both neuroprotective and, additionally, are potential stalwarts against depression, according to the acetylcholine-depression hypothesis. Basically, the -racetams (aniracetam, noopept, piracetam, etc.) rev up your brain and cause it to use more acetylcholine. Depleting acetylcholine more quickly this way could potentially lead you to feel happier overall.
  7. Bacopa Monnieri — Bacopa is a safe and effective herbal supplement shown to enhance memory. It is also thought to be an anti-oxidant, a weak acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, a cerebral blood flow activator, and a neurotransmitter modulator (especially for serotonin). This means that it can potentially help you deal with stress, increase blood flow to the brain, and maintain good levels of important neurotransmitters like serotonin (mood-boosting) and acetylcholine (helps with information processing amongst other things).
  8. Ashwagandha — A powerful anxiolytic herb (stress/anxiety-reducer), it also can help boost testosterone levels and general immune function. I noticed that eye-contact became easier after I started taking it. Generally, my social anxieties have been greatly reduced since beginning taking Ashwagandha, Aniracetam, and L-theanine. Exercise helps a lot with this issue too, of course!
  9. Vinpocetine — Increases cerebral blood flow. When taking it the first few times it feels like an intense rush of blood to the head. Knowing to expect this, having heard about it from my friend, it was exhilarating taking it. After about a week the intensity of this feeling dropped off; now it’s just energizing.
  10. Iodine — Iodine is essential for thyroid function and detox. Specifically, it helps oust nasty halides (fluoride, bromide, and chloride) from your glands, bones, and fatty tissues. Good for pineal health and metabolism. May prevent hypothyroidism and help with fatigue and sluggishness too.
  11. Butter Oil / Cod Liver Oil — My wife and I take this for Omega 3’s, Vitamin A, and Vitamin D. Also, good fat is brain fuel!
  12. Turmeric Root Powder — Contains curcumin, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory which aids in digestion.
  13. Melatonin — Helps me fall asleep quickly even after having taken modafinil and/or caffeine. Also a powerful antioxidant.
  14. Activated Charcoal — Helps with detox from things like sulfates in wine and inflammatory substances like gluten (which allows for a lot of allergens and other toxins to enter your system through your gut lining). I take one or two when I feel it’s needed with lots of water, but never along with other nootropics, as it can potentially interfere with their absorption.

SECTION III — Future Possibilities

I may add some new substances over time. I see great potential in the following two supplements, based on the reading I’ve done:

  • N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) is an antioxidative supplement which boosts glutathione levels in the body. This promotes effective detox, even of substances which are difficult to get rid of, like acetaminophen in the liver. Glutathione is a cancer fighting molecule as well. In addition to taking an NAC supplement, you can boost your glutathione levels with food. The cruciferous family of vegetables is one of the richest food sources of glutathione. The most potent vegetable is Brussels sprouts. Others include: cauliflower, broccoli (particularly the flowers, not the stem), cabbage, kale, bok choy, cress, mustard, horseradish, turnips, rutabagas, and kohlrabi. I may consider buying an NAC supplement in the future to do some extra liver detox. I can also just eat more Brussels sprouts, of course! (Good thing I like ‘em!)
  • Creatine — According to Examine.com, it just works. Creatine provides your body with phosphocreatine, which in turn is converted into ATP to power your cells and your brain. Strenuous exercise and stress can deplete ATP quickly, so it can greatly improve stamina, recovery time, and energy levels to supplement creatine. I have taken a creatine supplement in the past and it seemed to boost my endurance quite a bit when doing P90x3 and T25 workouts. I would like to try it again in the future, maybe with a powder from the Hard Rhino brand. 20 grams each day for the first week followed by 5g each day afterwards is the quick way for you to reach maximal effect with creatine. I will likely try this after a couple of months as I’m just starting to get used to my current stack — plus I may want to tweak some things here or there before adding a 15th supplement.

Thanks for reading!

9
May

Ode to Satoshi

by adminadam in home

Published on Feb 13, 2014 – http://youtu.be/zEQ2nPSL5-0

Bitcoin Tips: 1Bu6CHFzHwv522pBLQoBgDAaf2C7hvXxGo
Litecoin Tips: LLHeNqNAFeJeXmxyFLNqYRkfk6dcQH8bub

To Purchase the mp3, go to BitcoinsAndGravy.com or use this link:
satoshibox.com/5336dab64c347b9666008353

Email questions/comments to: jcbarrett2003@yahoo.com

Cover Photo by Jim McGuire, Nashville, TN

Ode To Satoshi

Well Satoshi Nakamoto that’s a name I love to say
And we don’t know much about him, but he came to save the day
When he wrote about the way things are
and the way things ought to be
He gave us all a protocol this world had never seen

Oh Bitcoin as you’re going into the old Blockchain
Oh Bitcoin I know you’re going to reign, gonna reign
Till everybody knows, everybody knows,
till everybody knows your name

Down the road it will be told about the Death of Old MtGox
About traitors trading alter coins and minors mining blocks
But them good old boys back in Illinois
and on down through Tennessee
See they don’t care to be a millionaire,
they’re just wanting to be free

Oh Bitcoin as you’re going into the old Blockchain
Oh Bitcoin I know you’re going to reign, gonna reign
Till everybody knows, everybody knows,
till everybody knows your name

From the ghettos of Calcutta to the halls of Parliament
While the bankers count Our money out for every government
Old Bitcoin flies on through the skies of Virtuality
A promise to deliver us from age old Tyranny

Oh Bitcoin as you’re going into the old Blockchain
Oh Bitcoin I know you’re going to reign, gonna reign
Till everybody knows, everybody knows,
till everybody knows your name
Till everybody knows, everybody knows,
till everybody knows your

“Give me some Exposure”

Everybody knows your name

Singing:
Oh Lord pass me some more
Oh Lord before I have to go
Oh Lord pass me some more
Oh Lord . . . before I have to . . .
go . . .

“Thanks East Nashville! Y’all be good to each other out there ya hear!”

Keep reading »

5
May

Namecoin

by adminadam in home

See more at weusenamecoins.com.

Quick Rundown of Namecoin:

  • Used primarily for domain name registration
  • Domains registered using Namecoin cannot be censored or shut down by ICANN, any government, or any other private entity
  • Host your own website or use an out-of-jurisdiction VPS for greater resiliency against take-down requests
  • Can also be used as a currency, for tips, etc.
  • 21 million Namecoins total to be produced
  • Mined and secured just like Bitcoin
  • Transaction history kept forever in Blockchain public ledger
27
Apr

Beginner and Intermediate Nootropics

by adminadam in articles

Nootropics are “Safe” Smart Drugs, supplements which can help you think clearly and focus, remember things better, and boost your mood. These supplements — while admittedly less dramatic — are infinitely safer than adderall but with near-zero side-effects.

If you’re just entering into the field of Nootropics, or are considering taking something to boost your mood or cognition, please keep the following caveats in mind:

  • Don’t expect a miracle — this is rule number one. Many of these substances have subtle or gradually-building effects.
  • Don’t expect increased motivation — this should come primarily from inside yourself. I think visualization and meditation practice are much more powerful tools for increasing motivation and overall well-being than any of the nootropics listed below.
  • Don’t expect a dramatically different experience of reality — again subtle effects are common: Increases in visual information processing, listening comprehension, multitasking ability, reading speed, spatial awareness, feelings of calm, etc., may emerge.
  • Sleep, exercise, and diet are your primary Nootropics — don’t neglect these fundamentals.

Here is what I recommend for the curious, new Nootropics user…

The Racetams:

PIRACETAM — A water-soluble white powder which is thought to work by increasing acetylcholine uptake and cell-membrane fluidity in the brain. Dissolve 1 to 2 grams into a tall glass of fresh, clean water, stir once or twice, and imbibe. Many users of Piracetam report noticeable boosts to their verbal fluency, short-term memory, reading comprehension or reading speed, and mental energy. It is also shown to be neuroprotective and can help alleviate the discomfort associated with altitude sickness. Maximum blood-plasma levels of piracetam are reached after one hour, but you may notice its effects within minutes. Up to 10-gram doses have been shown to be non-toxic, producing few side-effects, perhaps a headache, and for some people irritability. My recommended dose is 1 to 2 grams. You can take this two or three times per day, but I recommend waiting at least 6 hours in between doses. My recommended suppliers are New Star Nootropics ($17 per 100 grams, comes with 1.2 gram scoop) and Powder City ($9.50 per 100 grams). If you take 3 grams a day on average that should last you just over one month (33 days).

ANIRACETAM — A fat-soluble white powder which, again, is thought to work on acetylcholine uptake, but is also theorized to increase memory and cognition (and for many people reduce anxiety) by resensitizing the brain to glutamate (AMPA), one of the primary neurotransmitters. Either mix the powder in with olive oil, or put the powder straight into your mouth and drink it down. NOTE: It will not dissolve in water. Placing under the tongue for a minute and then washing it down may decrease the time-to-effect for you as it does for me. Aniracetam has a half-life in the body of 1 to 2 hours, versus Piracetam’s 7-8 hours. Aniracetam is significantly more powerful, however, and may be anxiolytic, or anxiety-reducing, in addition to providing such benefits as increased focus and mental energy or enhanced short-to-medium term memory. Best dosages to try are between 750mg and 1 gram. Some researchers argue that it needs to be taken with a fat-source (with food), but this is not proven to be necessary. You may wish to take Aniracetam 3 or 4 times a day due to its short half-life. Recommended suppliers: Powder City ($21.50 for 100 grams) or New Star Nootropics ($36 for 100 grams), roughly a 40-day supply in either case.

OXIRACETAM — A water-soluble white powder like Piracetam. Doses recommended are 800mg to 1.2 grams. Noted most often for its boosting of spatial awareness and logical thinking, more than other Racetam-type compounds. Half-life is 7 hours or so. Take two or three times per day. This one is significantly more expensive than the others, however, some users prefer this over piracetam, reporting that it helps more with complex, information-dense tasks. Note: Mileage may vary. I bought 50 grams, a month’s supply, to try from New Star Nootropics for $34. It’s also available from Powder City at $20 for 50 grams.

Oxiracetam, Aniracetam, and Piracetam are my three recommendations for you if you’re just beginning to explore the field of Nootropics. If you notice their effects and feel neutral or even positive in terms of your mood after taking them then this is a good sign. If you feel significantly more anxious, then perhaps the Racetams aren’t for you. But don’t despair — there are many more safe and effective cognition-enhancing supplements under the sun! (See ‘Besides the Racetams’ below.)

Testing out the Racetams:

After taking one of these three entry-level Racetams for the first time, try the following:

  • Listen to a song whose words you don’t know by heart — Can you easily pick out the words?
  • Try skimming a news article to get the gist — Can you read it while skipping lines or sets of words? Can you read and comprehend it any faster than usual?
  • Try going outside and looking at the plants and trees and animals — Do you notice more details than you would normally?

If you don’t notice anything and still feel fine emotionally (i.e. not anxious), try a few more times later on (8 hours later, or the next day). Consider increasing the dosages by 50% or so for your next attempt if you feel fine but don’t notice anything yet. Aniracetam dosage should be increased perhaps by only 10% at a time in my experience; a little bit seems to go much further than with the others.

A little more scientifically…

Many researchers and students of nootropics test and train their cognitive abilities through tasks such as Dual N-Back (about: wikipedia). Try for yourself if you are interested in seeing what these tests are like: Lumosity, Brainscale, Brain N-Back (android app), Dual N-Back (iOS app). These can help you understand and hone your memory over time, regardless of whether you are taking any nootropics.

Besides the Racetams, what else is good for me as a beginner?

Other excellent nootropics include Choline Supplements to accompany the Racetams, L-theanine to accompany caffeine if you’re a coffee drinker, and the Amazing, Adaptogenic Herbs: Ashwagandha, Bacopa, and Rhodiola.

CHOLINE SUPPLEMENTS such as CDP-choline and Alpha-GPC help your brain to be able to produce more acetylcholine, an essential neurotransmitter. These are often most beneficial when taken with one of the Racetams like I’ve described above, although even these alone can boost verbal fluency and short-term memory. Take 200 to 300 mg of these substances two times a day for best results. Note that overdoing it can lead to some depressive symptoms potentially. Highly recommended if you have little choline in your diet — if you never eat eggs, for instance. Good to combine with Piracetam, Aniracetam, and/or Oxiracetam. The idea is that the Racetams rev up your engine, while Choline supplementation keeps the ‘acetylcholine gas tank’ full.

Fine to combine. In case you’re wondering… Yes, it is okay to consume different Racetams simultaneously if you wish to experiment further. Many researchers do. Each one is purported to act on subtly different mechanisms in the brain. I would still advise you to test them out individually first to get a feel for their different effects, however.

L-THEANINE is a compound in green tea (and other teas) which is relaxing and anxiety-reducing and helps to ameliorate the side-effects of caffeine, namely: anxiety and muscle-tension. I find it helps me remain calm and stay focused when I consume a lot of caffeine. It is recommended that you take two times more L-theanine than caffeine, though, in order to derive the greatest benefits from this powerful combination. One of the easiest ways to do this is with a supplement that contains both ingredients in this 2:1 ratio. I like Natural Stack’s Smart Caffeine. It has 200mg L-theanine and 100mg caffeine per capsule, which is perfect. You should notice greater focus and reduced jitteriness and muscle tension if you typically consume caffeine. Smart Caffeine is around $20 for 60 capsules, but most likely is the highest quality supplement of its kind. Powder City also sells capsules with these same ingredients and proportions. They sell 90 capsules for $12.50. I used the Powder City capsules once and they seemed to work just fine, too.

ASHWAGANDHA is an anxiolytic adaptogen (an anxiety and stress-reducing herb) much lauded in Ayurveda. It is also said to increase virility and male fertility, and boost the immune system. It seems to reduce my anxiety and encourage more pro-social tendencies in me, like sustained eye-contact. I use Nutrigold (Ashwagandha Gold). It is $18 for 90 capsules, organic, with a high-potency standardized extract, KSM-66. Very cost effective if you ever get nervous or anxious in social situations. Take two per day.

BACOPA MONNIERI is another ayurvedic herb shown to boost memory and help you fight anxiety. It is one of the most studied herbal nootropics, and one that is a key part of my stack. NOTE: Memory and cognition enhancement aspects of this supplement may take up to 6 weeks of daily use to kick in. Anxiolytic (calming) effects should be apparent early on (similar, but likely less pronounced in this regard, to Ashwagandha). I use the Bacopa with the standardized BaCognize extract from Swanson Superior Herbs. This costs $12 for 90 capsules. Take two per day.

Bacopa and Caffeine with L-theanine are probably the safest bets overall. Very cost effective, too. They’re well-supported in research for memory enhancement (Bacopa) and sustained focus (Caffeine/L-theanine) in non-elderly (and also elderly) populations. Click on the links at the beginning of each respective paragraph to read more research on them from Examine.com.

RHODIOLA ROSEA is a Traditional Chinese Medicine and Scandinavian adaptogenic herb used to fight fatigue and exhaustion. It is a potential neuroprotective agent, and has been shown to boost longevity in animal studies. It is serotonergic, meaning it acts upon serotonin receptors in the brain, and it is reported to enhance general subjective well-being and cognition through its anti-depression and anti-fatigue-type effects. I found this helpful when I hadn’t slept enough; it gave me a boost of energy and also seemed to help me keep my stress levels low. I recommend NOW Foods Rhodiola Rosea. 60 capsules for about $8.50. If you find you like other brands more, just make sure they contain the active compounds at these percentages: 3% Rosavins and 1% Salidroside. This ensures potency. With all Rhodiola supplements, take just ONE dose in the morning. BONUS: Rhodiola may help reduce the symptoms of cessation of smoking. Additionally, some users report it helps them to cycle or go off of caffeine.

Intermediate Nootropics:

After exploring L-theanine, the Racetams, choline, and the adaptogenic herbs, I might consider testing out some of the following newer, and more powerful Racetams:

NOOPEPT is a highly-potent piracetam analogue. It is said to increase Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor and Nerve Growth Factor. This means increasing neuro-plasticity, potentially. It is often recommended that you take it for a period of time and then cycle off of it, for instance, two months on, and then one week off. A friend of mine said he noticed some personality changes in himself with noopept: He became much more serious and focused, yet less fun-loving in his own estimation. I feel that noopept is stimulating and helps me to focus on whatever I’m doing. I believe it is helping me retain more information in my short-term memory. It is also said to be neuroprotective and immuno-restorative. Doses of 10mg to 30mg are recommended, twice daily. I got mine from New Star Nootropics. If you take 30mg a day, a 1 gram container will last you for a month. (And it costs only $8!) I believe this one stacks particularly well with aniracetam — where noopept stimulates me and promotes quick and logical thinking, and aniracetam keeps me calm and encourages creativity.

COLURACETAM is a newer piracetam-analogue with the potential for longer-lasting effects on memory. Even tinier doses are used than noopept this time: 3 to 10 mg is suggested for coluracetam for each dose. Research indicates it promotes High Affinity Acetylcholine Uptake, indicating it more directly affects and increases the activity of cholinergic neurons. There is scant evidence of nootropic benefit to healthy populations at this time, but it has been shown to preserve choline uptake into neurons when they are otherwise impaired. A number of intrepid and daring nootropic adventurers who’ve tried it self-reported and indicated they felt similar cognition-boosting effects as with other racetams. Some noted a mood-boost and increased motivation as well. I tried a batch of coluracetam from New Star Nootropics a while back and felt similarly about it, but knowing of its unproven track record and uncertain safety profile, I’ve set this one aside until future studies can substantiate the hype and settle some of the questions surrounding it.

PRAMIRACETAM is a another piracetam analogue, this time with minor evidence of memory-enhancing and neuroprotective effects. It may promote High Affinity Acetylcholine Uptake, but no studies have been completed in vitro at the time of this writing. As the editors at Examine.com note, it has structural similarities with both piracetam and choline, and so may break off into these two compounds or similar compounds after crossing the blood-brain barrier. Some users report that this Racetam is amongst the best for sustained focus and concentration. Typical doses are 300 to 600 mg twice a day. WARNING: Do not consume the powder form directly — it burns your mouth and tongue terribly. I recommend you mix and dissolve it into olive oil or another vegetable oil for a couple of minutes, and then maybe drink it down with milk or some other fatty beverage (yogurt could work too, I suppose). The taste is absolutely wretched. Try it if you dare! I got some from New Star Nootropics to try. It was $40 for 25 grams, a 20-day supply.

Further Resources:

  • Want more suggestions? If you’ve tried all of these and are looking for other suggestions of things to experiment with, hit me up at 84adam [at] thrivenotes [dot] com.
  • Wondering about certain combinations? See Reddit’s StackAdvice subreddit if you’re planning a combination of various Nootropics to take and want feedback from the community there.
  • Tell me more about it all! Check out Reddit’s /r/Nootropics’ A Beginner’s Guide to Nootropics for reliable suppliers, safety information, and more. Highly recommended reading!
  • Got feedback? If you’ve got feedback or an experience report for one of the supplements I’ve listed then please comment below!

Happy Experimenting! : )

26
Apr

Dogecoin, For The Win!

by adminadam in home

What is Dogecoin?

  • Dogecoin is a fun, new and rapidly growing form of digital currency.
  • This form of digital currency is called “cryptocurrency”; a type of digital currency.
  • Cryptocurrency is completely anonymous, decentralized, and extremely secure.

Dogecoin is used with a wallet on your computer, a wallet app on your smartphone, or from an online wallet. You can use it to buy goods and services, or trade it for other currencies (both other cryptocurrencies or traditional currency like US dollars). One of the most popular uses for Dogecoin is “tipping” fellow internet-goers who create or share great content. Think of it as a more meaningful “like” or upvote, with real value that can be used all across the internet.

It is very easy to start using Dogecoin:

  • Step 1: Get A Wallet.
  • Step 2: Get Some Dogecoin.
  • Step 3: Use Your Dogecoin.
  • Step 4: Stay Up-to-Date.

For more information, see the Getting Started Guide.

By the way, I will always pronounce DOGEcoin as if it rhymed with ROGUEcoin… :)

TO THE MOON!

Go to Moon?
23
Apr

Noteworthy Bitcoin News: Spring, 2014

by adminadam in home

A few weeks before tax day, the IRS gave guidance saying (that is, they declared that) Bitcoin is, was, and always has been a commodity in regards to tax burden. Capital gains tax applies each time a transaction is made with this currency commodity (shall we call it a commurrency?), even if it is just a cup of coffee being purchased. If the price of Bitcoin was higher when you bought the Bitcoin than when you made the purchase, then you are liable to pay capital gains tax on that purchase. This is great for institutional investors, not so great for people in the U.S. who are using it as a currency. Personally, I wonder about the IRS’s capacity to enforce and act on this with the growing adoption of Bitcoin. Also, since the ruling is retroactive, all purchases/transactions made with Bitcoin since the beginning of time are fair game. So what if you don’t or can’t know the input and output values of all your coins (including other virtual currencies like Litecoin, Dogecoin, etc.) since 2009, when Bitcoin was released?

There is a clause apparently that says that if you can’t provide this information for some reason, or if you don’t have the records, then you *may* be forgiven of some of your burden for some of your gains if you appeal upon being audited for a given amount. Losses do deduct from total gains, just like you would expect, but I guess I just wonder how the IRS expects to keep track of Bitcoin transactions and audit people going forward. I know a number of people who bought their first Bitcoins through coinbase using a bank transfer. Like most people in this boat, you then transfer those coins to a safer-than-coinbase storage medium, whether that’s a paper wallet or the Bitcoin-Qt Standard Software Wallet which you run on your home computer (hopefully safely encrypted and backed-up — see my guide on doing this here). Each transaction made in order to get these coins under your control in this scenario is a transaction, but note: you haven’t purchased anything, or traded anything of value for your Bitcoins. Ultimately, essentially, all Bitcoin transactions whether purchases or personal fund-movements appear identical to the Bitcoin network. Were there some greater level of willing transparency on this issue from the IRS, we could know if they plan to, say, host their own bitcoin node, download the blockchain themselves just to make sure they understand it, or merely check transfers using an online blockchain (the public ledger), like blockchain.info, for example.

The final obstacle in collecting (and reporting) revenues from cryptocurrencies stems from high-frequency trading — say you bought your Bitcoin on a U.S. exchange, then transferred it to BTC-e in Bulgaria (where it’s counted as a virtual currency, incidentally…), then engaged in a bout of high-frequency Bitcoin/Litecoin/Dogecoin/Peercoin trading. The IRS doesn’t likely have legitimate access to these trades, nor may you have even a decently-complete record of what’s transpired; all you know now is you have more fill-in-the-blank-coins than when you started.

Another complication arises with the arrival (soon: May Day) of dark wallets and (next-gen) seamless coin mixing services. Dark Wallet by Defense Distributed is one such development which will be used to strip coins of their identifying information (i.e. where they came from first/middle/last). Anonymity in cryptocurrency will be possible (more possible than it is now). Add to this the facilitation of anonymous purchases through dark markets and distributed markets, such as BitWasp and DarkMarket (this also from Defense Distributed). Where the Silk Road was shut down, Silk Road 2.0, and others now exist. Add to this these 2 more new projects and project outwards: we are seeing exponential development and evolution in this economic space. Many more black, grey, and unrestricted markets will bloom — expect to hear more about this soon!

In other news, China is still wishy-washy about Bitcoin, but hasn’t outright banned it, and since some time has passed since the last definitely-going-to-be-banned rumors spread, the price has come back up a bit to around $500, from a low of approximately $350. Ultimately, the failure of Mt. Gox brought the value down by half in the early part of 2014, simply because so many people lost their money, and also because of all the FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) spread about by the media; read: “Mt. Gox failed; Bitcoin’s dead!” Such proclamations will likely continue to be heard for a few years to come for a variety of reasons, but whatever happens in one country or region need not happen in another (I’m talking about legislation, FYI…). Finally, I will say I believe Bitcoin’s value will continue to rise as the technology is made more accessible through simple, non-smart phones, as more people learn how to send Bitcoins through SMS, and as more charities and families are able to receive donations and remittances throughout the world with near-0 friction, essentially for free at that.

Lastly, in the news: Sidechain innovation. I’m excited about this for Bitcoin and its future. Basically, instead of creating new alt-coins in the future, it may be possible to update the Bitcoin core to more easily extend Bitcoin into semi-temporary Sidechain-coins with different, varying properties based on people’s needs. Say you need a coin that transacts (or is confirmed) quicker — you simply create a sidechain, put some Bitcoin in escrow to initiate this, and create Side-Quick-Bit-Coins or whatever you wanna call them. Then when or if the need is gone, return the Bitcoins in escrow to the normal Bitcoin network. I’m fuzzy on the details, but stoked about the implications, particularly for Bitcoin’s ability to compete with Ethereum and other Bitcoin 2.0 protocols like Mastercoin and Colored Coins. The bottom line is new functionality and greater scalability with this.

BONUS DARK WALLET PROMOTIONAL VIDEO
11
Mar
26
Jan

Secure and Backup Your Crypto Coins

by adminadam in articles

  • Secure and backup your cryptocurrency.

  • Create redundant encrypted local copies of your wallet.dat files.

  • Create a triple-encrypted, double-obfuscated volume containing all your crypto-wallets (using 7-Zip and TrueCrypt).

  • Securely upload, email, share, and place this volume on the cloud.

~ LA PRIMERA ETAPA ~

The first step is to secure your crypto-stash locally:

  1. Sync your wallet with the bitcoin-litecoin-dogecoin-whatevercoin network.
  2. Encrypt your wallet with a good, strong password, either 10+ random characters or 8+ random words. Ideally, you should use 14+ random characters, despite what the bitcoin-qt wallet shows you:

encrypt wallet
Now it is impossible for someone to pilfer your coins without some Mega-Serious Cracking Abilities (MSCA).

~ LA SEGUNDA ETAPA ~

Your wallet is secured, however, it must be backed-up in multiple (i.e. three or more) locations.

I save an extra wallet copy in a folder in My Documents, and another copy in another folder on my external hard-drive. I also occasionally backup my important folders and my whole system on a third hard-drive.

Typically you can find your original wallet location on your computer by typing the following into the Start Menu search area:

%APPDATA%

If you type this in exactly, it should show a folder called ‘Roaming’ in your start menu. Press ENTER and it will transport you to this typically-hidden folder. Inside you should see a number of folders containing application-data, including one titled Bitcoin, and perhaps others, Dogecoin, etc. if you have them installed.

When you enter the Bitcoin folder, you will see a number of things. One is ‘wallet.dat’. This small file contains your entire stash of coins, now protected if you’ve encrypted it in LA PRIMERA ETAPA.

Each time you want to duplicate and backup this ‘wallet.dat’ file, you should do the following:

  1. In your Bitcoin/Othercoin wallet program, choose ‘File > Backup Wallet’.
  2. NAME IT: Something indicating the Coin-type and the date would be good.
  3. CHOOSE A DESTINATION: Somewhere safe. Multiple media types are ideal: CD’s, USB’s, Hard-drives, Floppies, etc.

~ LA TERCERA ETAPA ~

Now your stash is encrypted and well backed-up — assuming you named and backed-up your wallet.dat file in 3+ places in a way and manner in which you will not lose or forget these files exist.

The next step is an added layer (or two) of extropy needed to protect your coins from totally ridiculous calamities, such as fires, floods, earthquakes, and nuclear bombs.

If your house burns down and your physical backup media are destroyed, you’ve also then lost your ‘wallet.dat’ backup files. Coins gone. Bummer, man!

This is where the cloud can be useful, however — CAVEAT EMPTOR — there is a smart way and a dumb way to do this. I will, of course, explain the smart way. (The dumb way would be to not add any additional protections… or to make the file public… or to advertise its existence to everyone.)

TWO DISTICT PROGRAMS will be explored here as means of adding two additional layers of protection to your entire stash (multiple wallets and coin types included). They are:

7-Zip — This compression program can also encrypt and password protect each of your ‘wallet.dat’ files while adding a layer of obfuscation which would prevent outside observers from viewing filenames contained within. (It encrypts the filenames, hiding transaction logs and address lists from view.)

TrueCrypt — This creates an encrypted, password-protected volume (think: folder) in which you can store each of your now-obfuscated, now-twice-encrypted ‘wallet.dat’ files.

Steps to follow using 7-Zip for each ‘wallet.dat’ file:

  1. Install 7-Zip.
  2. Right-click the first ‘wallet.dat’ file.
  3. Select 7-Zip in the menu, then click ‘Add to Archive’.
  4. In ‘Archive:’, change the name to something unrelated to wallets and coins and doges (oh, my!).
  5. In the ‘Add to Archive’ window, first check that ‘Archive format:’ shows ‘7z’.
  6. Ensure that ‘Encryption method:’ shows ‘AES-256′.
  7. Check the box for ‘Encrypt file names’.
  8. Create a strong password that is different from the one used to encrypt the ‘wallet.dat’ file intially. Again, ideally 14+ random characters or 8+ random words. (As with all steps in this process, you’re screwed if you forget or lose this password.)
  9. Press OK when your password is in.

You should now have an obfuscated, double-secured ‘wallet.dat’ file. Unless you tell someone (or give someone your password), at this point no one will be able to know what-the-crap this archive is, much less gain access to it, absent, again, Mega-Serious Cracking Abilities (MSCA).

Once you have 7-Zipped all your ‘wallet.dat’ files for all your coins, proceed to the TrueCrypt phase…

Steps to follow with TrueCrypt for your collection of Wallet Archives:

  1. Install TrueCrypt.
  2. Open TrueCrypt.
  3. Select ‘Create Volume’.
  4. Ensure ‘Create an encrypted file container’ is selected, and press NEXT.
  5. Here we have an option to create a ‘Standard’ or a ‘Hidden’ TrueCrypt volume. For now, we will simply create a ‘Standard’ volume (Hit NEXT). Later I will detail the steps necessary to create a Hidden volume, which is particularly useful if you believe you may be forced to reveal your password to someone under duress at some point in the future. For now, we’ll just assume a hidden volume isn’t necessary because A) you “don’t have that much money”, and B) you “surely haven’t advertised that you have this special TrueCrypt volume with a bunch of crypto-money in it”.
  6. Choose ‘Select File…’ and browse to a location where you would like to create your TrueCrypt volume, the Desktop, let’s say. We are merely creating a container right now.
  7. After browsing to your chosen location, come up with something inane to name your TrueCrypt container. “photos from joey”, or something to that effect. Type that name into the ‘File name:’ field and hit SAVE.
  8. Hit NEXT.
  9. The next screen allows us to select our encryption and hashing algorithms. For first-timers, the default options AES and RIPEMD-160 are recommended. Hit NEXT.
  10. Next we’ll choose a size for this volume we’re creating. Let’s see, what’s a good size for a spoofed folder full of pictures from Joey? How about 14MB? Should be plenty. The wallet.dat archives are only around 40KB each. Type in an amount ranging from 5 to 20MB. Hit NEXT.
  11. Now we’ll choose a final password. TrueCrypt recommends a 20+ character password, with no easily-guessable whole words. Type in and then re-enter your chosen password. BEFORE YOU HIT NEXT, read about Generating Entropy:

    In the next screen, TrueCrypt will ask you to ‘move your mouse around randomly’ for at least 30 seconds. The reason it is doing this is to collect random data — from your mouse movements — with which to scramble and improve the encryption of your TrueCrypt volume. Be ready to move your mouse around randomly for 30 to 90 seconds before you hit NEXT.

  12. Hit NEXT and begin moving your mouse around randomly. (The VOLUME FORMAT screen should be displayed now). Continue to move your mouse around for at least 30 seconds. After you are either content or tired of moving your mouse around for no apparent reason, click FORMAT. No need to edit any options here.
  13. After you hit FORMAT, wait for your volume to be created. NOTE: This may take a while if you chose a large volume size. When it has finished, it will show a dialog box indicating that “The TrueCrypt volume has been successfully created.” Hit OK.
  14. In the next screen, “Volume Created”, hit EXIT.
  15. Next we will browse to our TrueCrypt volume and mount it from the main TrueCrypt window. (NOTE: If you don’t have the main TrueCrypt window open any more, simply re-open TrueCrypt from the Start Menu.) From within the main window, select an available drive. If you have dozens of hard-drives or CD drives in your computer, you’ll have to choose from amongst the later drive letters in the alphabet. I’m choosing ‘M:’ for “Mega Serious”.
  16. Click ‘Select File…’ after choosing your drive letter.
  17. Browse to and select your inanely-named TrueCrypt Volume, ‘photos from joey’ — or whatever it is you called it. Hit OPEN.
  18. In the main TrueCrypt window, hit MOUNT.
  19. Enter your password and hit OK.
  20. If you have successfully mounted your volume, the name, size, encryption algorithm, and type will show up in the main TrueCrypt window next to the drive letter onto which you chose to mount it. You can now open the volume as you would any other drive or folder. Either double-click on the volume name from within the TrueCrypt window, or browse to your list of Hard Disk Drives in Computer and double-click on ‘Local Disk (M:)’. REMEMBER: You may have chosen a different drive letter than me. ;-)
  21. Now we may proceed to the final step of our Cryptocoin Backup Process…

~ LA CUARTA ETAPA ~

This stage is significantly easier than stage three.

  1. Now that you have your TrueCrypt volume created, encrypted, and opened, simply copy and paste (or drag-and-drop) your 7-Zipped ‘wallet.dat’ files into it. Once they are copied into this volume, you can consider them safe. Once you restart or shutdown your computer, even if the power just goes out, your files are encrypted and safe. You can also choose to DISMOUNT your volume from within the TrueCrypt window and EXIT now.

Next time you want to access your files now, remember you will have to:

  1. Open TrueCrypt.
  2. Select File…
  3. Select the volume and click OPEN.
  4. Hit MOUNT.
  5. Enter your password; hit OK.
  6. Double-click on the volume once it is mounted.
  7. Right click on the wallet file you want to open. Choose ‘Open Archive’ with 7-Zip.
  8. Enter the 7-Zip Archive password.
  9. You now have access to your coin wallet again. (REMEMBER: You also encrypted this file. Good on you!)

~ LA QUINTA ETAPA ~

The final stage.

Share/upload/distribute your triple-encrypted, double-obfuscated TrueCrypt Multi-Wallet Backup System Volume (just one single file now) to a few trusted friends or locations.

You can now safely store this file in your email account, your dropbox, on your smartphone, on a friend’s hard-drive, and so on. The sky’s the limit!

~ LA EXTRA ETAPA: Can you Grok it? ~

I personally can’t grok any more today. I intended to add a section on creating a special hidden volume with TrueCrypt in which to place our ‘wallet.dat’ files. For now I’m quite content with this beginner’s guide. Please see: http://www.truecrypt.org/docs/hidden-volume to read up on Hidden Volumes and try it yourself if you feel so inclined. I may choose to update this guide in the future with a Hidden Volumes tutorial section. We’ll see.

~ LOS RECURSOS QUE UTILICÉ PARA ESCRIBIR ESTA GUÍA ~

(1) http://www.bitcoincreator.com/bitcoin-wallet/how-to-backup-bitcoin-wallets/
(2) http://www.nextofwindows.com/using-7-zip-to-compress-and-encrypt-your-files-and-folders/
(3) http://www.truecrypt.org/docs/tutorial
(4) http://www.7-zip.org/
(5) http://www.truecrypt.org/

23
Dec

The Extropy of Bitcoin

by adminadam in articles

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a highly extropic virtual currency and payment platform. It is resistant to entropy, theft, political corruption, and market manipulation (i.e. arbitrary inflation).

Here is an under-two-minute Bitcoin intro video from weusecoins.com:

What are Bitcoin’s novel features (both as a currency and as a technology)?

  • The coins themselves cannot be burnt or destroyed, nor can they be stolen (if encrypted and backed-up properly). Coins can also be stored offline in a paper wallet or an indestructible, encrypted aluminum wallet.
  • Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer, decentralized currency and banking/ledger system with no single point of failure.
  • It has worldwide appeal and utility; different people are interested in it for different reasons and all can participate freely.
  • A whole cryptocurrency ecosystem has evolved from it. See: Litecoin, Namecoin, or Anoncoin for examples of this.

What are its downsides commonly thought to be?

There are a number of arguments leveled against Bitcoin. Most posit that it will either be rendered null or that there are no legitimate uses for it. Briefly, here are a few of the more common arguments:

  1. That governments and banks will soon feel so threatened by it that they will shut it down.
  2. It’s volatile; it’s difficult to speculate on; it’s not a good investment.
  3. Only criminals and tax-evaders use it. (And/or high frequency traders.)
  4. It’s not accepted anywhere; you can’t really use it for anything.
  5. It would fail if the internet went down.

Now to examine these arguments.

First, that someone or some entity might shut it down:

Bitcoin cannnot be shut down by any authority as could Napster, or Wikileaks, or even the Pirate Bay for that matter. It is completely decentralized and has spread around the world. It is not dependent on ICANN or any centralized protocol or institution controlled by any one entity. I don’t think any conceivable level of coordination could remove enough copies of the peer-to-peer software necessary to run it — existing on many millions of devices around the world at this point — in order to shut it down. Also, as we move forward people are increasingly meeting in person to exchange bitcoin and other coins for cash, meaning that 3rd party bitcoin services (like Coinbase or Mt. Gox) are non-essential to obtaining cryptocurrencies.

Recently China declared that Bitcoin would not be accepted as currency there and that 3rd party Bitcoin/Renminbi exchanges would have to shut down at the end of 2013. This caused the prices to halve as there was great excitement and a surge of interest in Bitcoin in China previously. And while it will be harder for Chinese people to get and sell potentially, it certainly doesn’t spell the end for Bitcoin around the world. For example, Germany accepts it, as do the US, the Netherlands, Canada, Japan, France, and others. (I expect even in China it will continue to play some, albeit marginalized, role.) Note also: Swiss lawmakers are considering treating it as they would any other foreign currency as we speak.

Second, on the volatility, the usefulness for investment purposes:

It is difficult to speculate on, but less so, I believe, if you think in longer time frames than does a high-frequency trader.

BTC price history - all time - to Dec 11, 2013

Looking at this chart of the all-time price history of Bitcoin (above), we can see a number of big peaks and valleys, but the general trend is up — in a big way. It is new and subject to an extent to hype and speculation (as is any new commodity or currency, of course). One glance at the overall trajectory, however, and it appears to be more of an exponential trend than a linear one. I cannot conceive of traditional commodities or other physical currencies growing in this fashion, and believe it is only possible with a digital, peer-to-peer, distributed, low-barriers-to-entry system such as Bitcoin. Take a look at this all-time price history with weekly (instead of daily) price points and tell me that the growth is not astonishingly exponential in appearance…!

BTC price history - all time - to December 2013

I think over the long term the value will continue to increase. If we look at a few examples of how Bitcoin (and the underlying protocol) are already being used I think it will become obvious why its value — and the value of other cryptocurrencies — is likely to increase over time.

Who uses it, where, and for what:

Bitcoin is a freely accessible, open-source, distributed, digital currency. That means that anyone with a smart phone or computer and internet access can use it. This ease-of-use and convenience may allow for it to supersede conventional payment and banking technologies, like paypal, moneygram, and bank transfers. As there is no bureaucracy involved, coins can be transferred to anyone, from anyone, at any time and for any reason. All this within minutes. All this without fees.

Here’s a few example uses:

  • Trade sanctions can be bypassed. Cubans in the US can send their families money without hassle.
  • Money can be sent anonymously (and if not then at least pseudonymously) over the internet for the first time in history. For more on the issue of true anonymity and the technical discussions surrounding it see: Zerocoin.
  • Woodlank Patchwork, a new micronation which is both an enclave and an exclave of Japan, has chosen Bitcoin as its official currency.
  • WordPress users can pay with Bitcoin.
  • Reddit accepts it for advertising, tipping other users, and other promotional uses.
  • Shopify allows merchants to accept it.
  • OKcupid accepts it for premium services.
  • Nesbit’s Fine Watch Service (near me in Seattle) accepts it.
  • Seattle-based Accountable Moving & Storage accepts it.
  • Cheapair.com accepts it for purchasing plane tickets.
  • Khan Academy accepts it for donations.
  • Tesla accepts it for the purchase of their electric cars.
  • Virgin Galactic recently sold their first ticket into space purchased with Bitcoin.
  • See CoinMap.org and useBitcoins.info for 1000’s more locations worldwide where Bitcoins are accepted.

Here, additionally, are some fascinating non-monetary uses:

  • Proof of Existence allows users to anonymously time-stamp and create a record of a document’s existence. The cryptographic signature of this time-stamp is then stored for all time in the Bitcoin blockchain, the redundant, distributed ledger of transactions. With this you can certify that a given document/idea/etc exists without the need for a central authority. Think patent/copyright office, but peer-to-peer and open-source. Also, think censorship-proof publishing platform. Proof of Existence is built on top of the Bitcoin protocol.
  • Namecoin is an ‘altcoin’, an alternative cryptocurrency with features that distinguish it from Bitcoin. Namecoin is specifically designed to create an open-source, distributed DNS network. While most every website you would visit currently is ultimately controlled by ICANN (who assigns domain names like thrivenotes.com), Namecoin is creating an alternative, decentralized system, whereby censorship will be impossible, and anyone will be able to create and host a website without risk of it being removed from the internet by ICANN or other influential parties (See: Homeland Security domain name seizures). Namecoin is a fork of the Bitcoin source-code.

What if the internet went down? Are there any other security issues to be aware of?

Besides the fact that the whole internet going down would be disastrous for everyone and all internet-based services, consider the following way in which Bitcoin could possibly even survive or thrive were the net to go down:

In an amazingly ambitious announcement, Bitcoin Developer Jeff Garzik declared his intention to launch cubesat Bitcoin nodes into space to store extra redundant copies of the blockchain in case of certain types of attack or internet outages. This apparently would cost only around $2 Million to do and would provide an additional layer of extropy (higher-order, complexity, and resiliency) to Bitcoin. I find this just fascinating. Perhaps Bitcoin would be okay..!

Regardless, I would like to provide some additional details on the security of the Bitcoin ecosystem, but thought it best to leave it to the experts for this one. Here is some useful Q&A from the Bitcoin Security FAQ:

Is Bitcoin secure?

The Bitcoin technology – the protocol and the cryptography – has a strong security track record, and the Bitcoin network is probably the biggest distributed computing project in the world. Bitcoin’s most common vulnerability is in user error. Bitcoin wallet files that store the necessary private keys can be accidentally deleted, lost or stolen. This is pretty similar to physical cash stored in a digital form. Fortunately, users can employ sound security practices to protect their money or use service providers that offer good levels of security and insurance against theft or loss.

The best way to be safe is to be sure of who you’re dealing with (trusted exchanges, for instance, are a good place to start) when purchasing, and then to store your wallet encrypted (with an 8+ word password, for example) in multiple (that is, 3+) locations.

Hasn’t Bitcoin been hacked in the past?

The rules of the protocol and the cryptography used for Bitcoin are still working years after its inception, which is a good indication that the concept is well designed. However, security flaws have been found and fixed over time in various software implementations. Like any other form of software, the security of Bitcoin software depends on the speed with which problems are found and fixed. The more such issues are discovered, the more Bitcoin is gaining maturity.

There are often misconceptions about thefts and security breaches that happened on diverse exchanges and businesses. Although these events are unfortunate, none of them involve Bitcoin itself being hacked, nor imply inherent flaws in Bitcoin; just like a bank robbery doesn’t mean that the dollar is compromised. However, it is accurate to say that a complete set of good practices and intuitive security solutions is needed to give users better protection of their money, and to reduce the general risk of theft and loss. Over the course of the last few years, such security features have quickly developed, such as wallet encryption, offline wallets, hardware wallets, and multi-signature transactions.

I love this line: a bank robbery doesn’t mean the dollar has been compromised. So perfect. I feel this is very important to consider in discussions of crytocurrencies: ‘Is this a local vulnerability that’s been exploited, or a global/universal one tatamount to the annihilation of Bitcoin (et al.)?’

Could users collude against Bitcoin?

It is not possible to change the Bitcoin protocol that easily. Any Bitcoin client that doesn’t comply with the same rules cannot enforce their own rules on other users. As per the current specification, double spending is not possible on the same block chain, and neither is spending bitcoins without a valid signature. Therefore, It is not possible to generate uncontrolled amounts of bitcoins out of thin air, spend other users’ funds, corrupt the network, or anything similar.

However, a majority of miners could arbitrarily choose to block or reverse recent transactions. A majority of users can also put pressure for some changes to be adopted. Because Bitcoin only works correctly with a complete consensus between all users, changing the protocol can be very difficult and requires an overwhelming majority of users to adopt the changes in such a way that remaining users have nearly no choice but to follow. As a general rule, it is hard to imagine why any Bitcoin user would choose to adopt any change that could compromise their own money.

Consensus-based, democratic, open-source projects FOR THE WIN.

Is Bitcoin vulnerable to quantum computing?

Yes, most systems relying on cryptography in general are, including traditional banking systems. However, quantum computers don’t yet exist and probably won’t for a while. In the event that quantum computing could be an imminent threat to Bitcoin, the protocol could be upgraded to use post-quantum algorithms. Given the importance that this update would have, it can be safely expected that it would be highly reviewed by developers and adopted by all Bitcoin users.

Just imagine: Quantum-Encryption-Protected Bitcoin. What would we call it? QuBitcoin? Bitcoin-Cubed? 5th-DimensionalCoin? Whatever form it takes, whatever it’s called, I love their assertion that Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Developers will continue to develop and maximize the extropian potential of these liberating technologies — even in the face of quantum-supercomputer highway-robbery-attempts.

TL;DR – What about Bitcoin?

  • You can send money to anyone, anytime.
  • It can’t be shut down by governments.
  • It can’t be controlled by corporations or the Federal Reserve.
  • It may be protected from other conceivable, future forms of interference through the use of space-based redundancy satellites.
  • And you can buy everything from a cup of joe to an electric car with it.
Seems pretty awesomely versatile, valuable, and revolutionary to me!

bitcoin-logo-3d

Keep reading »

17
Nov

Debian 7 with XFCE

by adminadam in articles

As you may know, the last time I wrote about Extropian Linux Operating System Distros I examined my top two choices of Debian and openSUSE. Why were they my top picks? Well, to start they both have strong communities of developers. Additionally, they are stable distros with long support cycles — not as long as CentOS, mind you, but I digress — these long support cycles mean that each version of the operating system will last and be well supported for a long time, probably two to four years, if not longer.

Both Debian and openSUSE are independent projects as well, which I quite enjoy. None of that opt-out spying and 3rd-party profit-motivated collusion that you get with Ubuntu.

My top two choices are also both predicated on user-friendliness. None of that Arch & Gentoo command-line installation stuff. Sweet and simple installs for me.

Recently, I’ve determined that I would like to create a blog and host it on a home server. For this purpose and to familiarize myself with what I believe will be the best, most extropian pick in the long run, I’ve gone with the stalwart: Debian.

Debian has over 3000 developers worldwide and forms the basis for many other big name projects, such as Ubuntu and Linux Mint. (It must be doing something right!)

In order to streamline the process of testing for myself (and ideally that of installation on friends’ and family members’ computers) I went with the default Desktop Environment choice of GNOME 3. I was disappointed, however, to find that it didn’t work anything like what I was used to with GNOME 2 (which I last used with Fedora 14) or CINNAMON (which I last used with Linux Mint 14).

I guess this is what a lot of users were complaining about: A major break in design and user experience for no apparent reason at all.

Secondly, and perhaps the main reason why I am abandoning GNOME 3 (and most likely KDE as well) in favor of the XFCE desktop is that I felt GNOME 3 to be a resource hog. DISCLAIMER: I am running Debian 7 virtualized in VirtualBox. UNDISCLAIMER: This may actually be an excellent test bed for — or simulation of — the use of Debian on friends’ and family members’ old PC’s and Macs. The lighter on the system, the better. Otherwise we are giving Entropy a leg up as we lean towards ditching our old hardware; it’s still got plenty of potential as long as the tools we use are not too heavy.

What’s nice about XFCE is that it is super-lightweight. It uses minimal system resources, RAM, hard-drive space, etc.

It looks good. Not super polished like openSUSE or anything, but it has a clean and functional look. Keep reading »

7
Nov

Release: Touching the Root

by adminadam in poetry

subsumed
into, under, below
the ocean water surface
i’ve been trying for so long to breach
again and again

willfully subsumbed
to relax, sink, float down
drag, gravity
gradual pull
willful sinking

to touch the root of the age
to touch the root of the times
to experience fully the earth in this life

window of time is brief
and there is no hurry

subsumed2

17
Oct

Bitcoin Price Ticker and Price History

by adminadam in home

An embeddable, real-time Bitcoin price ticker from BTCquote.com.

Also, see the all-time price history for Bitcoins, since October 2010:
[click to enlarge]

Mt.Gox-Bitcoin-Price-History

US Dollars per Bitcoin over the last 3 years:

October 2010:  ~$0---
 October 2011:  ~$10--
 October 2012:  ~$17--
 October 2013:  ~$190-
 ( October 2014:  ~$330 )
(( October 2015: ~???? ))
7
Sep

Time Density & the Plague of Confusion

by adminadam in articles

Cycles of Time: The Kali Yuga & Time as a Function of Consciousness

September 4, 2013
BY: V. Susan Ferguson, Contributor
SOURCE: Waking Times

The 4 Ages are:

  1. The Satya or Krita Yuga, a Golden Age
  2. The Treta Yuga, the Age of Ritual
  3. Dvapara Yuga, the Age of Doubt: Man loses the sense of the Divine Reality of the world and grows away from natural law
  4. The Kali Yuga, the Age of Conflict and confusion began in 3012 BC and will end with the nearly total devastation of the present humanity

When you study the Hindu theory of the Cycles of Time and the yugas, you will find a confusing divergence of opinion concerning the dates of their duration. Considering that we are now living in the Age of Confusion, the Kali Yuga, it is not surprising to find so much disagreement on these matters.

Writing is the symptom of a degenerative culture

What is more important to me than precise numbers is the fact that we are living in an era where there is almost no memory of the previous cycles of time. Most of us wrongly believe that civilization begins with written history, however writing is actually the symptom of a degenerative culture – because it is sound that communicates meaning, not the markings that seek to represent it.

Reach beyond the limited frequencies of this Veil of Illusion you have been confined within – all of your lives. The experience of expanding and projecting your thoughts, consciousness and imagination back into primordial time is in itself liberating, revealing and uplifting.

The realization that time is in fact a function of consciousness will alter your perception of reality. We all experience time relative to our own specific consciousness. You can verify this for yourself by simply reflecting on, for example, how time flies when you are happy – as opposed how time drags when you are depressed or bored.

Time does not exist outside the temporal illusory hologram.

All increments, meaning measurements of time and space, are relative to the consciousness of the perceiver and thus the product of variations in waveform frequencies, based on and the result of the specific degree of the illusion of Separation from Oneness. This is similar to the quantum physics theory, The Copenhagen interpretation, Part II: Reality is created by observation. Or you might say more accurately, reality is created by the consciousness of the observer.

In ‘While the Gods Play’, the French scholar Alain Danielou explains that the length of a moment is established by the rhythms of consciousness that perceive it:

“It is energy, by producing vibratory waves having direction and length, that will give birth to the rhythms whose perceptions will create the dimension of time, the measure of space, and at the same time the structures of matter. … For man, the perception of the dimension of time is determined by his vital rhythms, his heartbeat…”

The duration of each of the four yugas is relative to each other as 4:3:2:1. This implies that the Golden Age is the longest and our current Kali Age is the shortest. In a Twilight of the Kali Yuga, time actually continues to speed up and increases ever more so, as we reach the end. The cycles of time are rather like classical Indian Ragas that begin slowly, serene, increase in tempo and passion, and end in a frenzy of energy.

Alain Danielou’s dates differ from others. Danielou says that the Twilight of the Kali Yuga began in 1939 with the discovery of atomic fission. According to him, the final catastrophe will take place during this twilight and the last traces of this present mankind will have disappeared in 2442. This doesn’t necessarily imply that we have an extra 400 years to fool around in. God only knows what earth changes will be taking place on this planet during that time.

In Hindu metaphysics of time is cyclical and each period of manifestation is called a KALPA of Brahma, equivalent to 4.32 billion human year.

  • The KALPA is subdivided into 14 MANVANTARAS.
  • We are now in the seventh MANVANTARA of this KALPA.
  • Each MANVANTARA is divided into 71 MAHA-YUGAS of 4,320,000 years each.
  • We are in the 28th MAHA-YUGA of this MANVANTARA.
  • Each MAHA-YUGA is made up of four yugas
  • Each Yuga is preceded by a period of a dawn and followed by a period of twilight. [Linga Purana 1.4.3-6]

The KALI YUGA, the Age of Conflict & Confusion 

The Kali Yuga is the only yuga most of us are familiar with because we have been living all our lives within these dense frequencies. Our mind, the way we think, and thus our perception of ‘reality’ has literally been cooked by the vibratory frequencies of time within the Kali Yuga. We humans have been ‘cooked by time’ to the point that only the fives senses remain available to us to understand the world around us. The five senses are easily confused.

The five senses can indeed be programmed and tricked by tyrannical wizards who want to control our lives. Today’s monopoly media is very aware of how to entrain and manipulate the five senses. In our modern world most of the information received around the planet suits the agendas of the multinational corporations, who also happen to own the monopoly media.

The five senses are vulnerable to deceit and manipulation by any and all. In other cycles of time, information gathered solely by the five senses would have been highly suspect. The ancient Rishis, ‘SEERS’ – those who see – were trusted as the source of wisdom concerning mankind’s future and our interconnection with the Cosmos.

It is only the ‘SEER’ within you, the one who has quieted the mind and achieved a connection to the God-within, who can offer insight into the true nature of reality. Only an inner-knowingness can lead us out of our current predicament – out of our miasma of amnesia, the soup we are still ‘cooking’ in. Only by transcending differentiated perception, the illusory powers of the five senses, and an understanding of GUNAMAYA, will we human beings return to the Real.

There are numerous descriptions of the symptoms of the Kali Yuga in the ancient Sanskrit Puranic texts. Bear in mind that writing is itself a symptom of the Kali Yuga. These texts were composed and transmitted orally in the previous cycles of time and handed down through memory, based on verbatim repetition, from one generation to the next. It was only in 500 BC that the grammarian Panini codified the Sanskrit language and these memorized texts were put into the form of writing. Sanskrit’s arduous precision was intentionally designed to protect the ancient knowledge from the confusion ensuing in the Kali Yuga.

The symptom that completely convinced me that the Cycles of Time were true was this: “Ready cooked food will be on sale.” [LINGA Purana Ch. 40] The ancients foresaw ‘fast food’! They knew that pre-prepared food loses its nutritional value.

The Light is primarily unmanifest, hidden.

The Kali Yuga is the Age of Darkness. The Light is primarily unmanifest, meaning not completely gone, just veiled and hidden in the Kali – and the Darkside rules. You can lighten the world around you by realizing and Remembering the God-within you, and by letting that frequency flow out around you. Even if people don’t accept what you say, they will be uplifted by your silent consciousness.

However don’t expect them to love you or even like you. Their Kali Yuga egos are firmly enthroned and will feel unconsciously threatened by your presence. The small identity-self ego has no wish to give up its power and if the person is unwittingly hosting denizens of the Phantasmal Hierarchies – perhaps in the form of an addiction to drugs, alcohol, or tyrannical power – then these parasitical entities will attack you and do just about anything to get you away from their ‘food’ supply!

The Kali Yuga seems to actually reward the Darkside, those ruthless ratzoids that are weak and greedy, liars without any integrity, morals, or principles often succeed. While the maverick thinkers, who possess a quiet sense of honor, who feel compassion for others, and respect primordial truth, are quickly pushed aside and berated, often brutally and publicly, by the elite.

In today’s culture almost everything that is being held up to us as great, desirable, and worthy is a short-term fix and sadly – rubbish. All of the power and money in the world will not give you the Remembrance of Oneness. The fastest red-hot racecar available will not bring you to the destination of enlightenment and liberation – JIVAN MUKTI. The pleasures enjoyed with the most gorgeous super model, male or female, will soon become tiresome and a burden.

As Krishna says, both pleasure and pain reside in the objects of the senses:

“… the pleasures that spring from sense impressions are sources of unhappiness, because they have beginnings and ends.” – Bhagavad Gita V.23

Another strange phenomenon of the Kali Yuga is the externalization of faith to such an extreme that people became obsessed and crazed with their individual belief systems. For 1000s of years now human beings have, in the name of their various interpretations of God, inflicted endless stupid destructive wars on each other – mass murder, torture, theft, and slavery all in the name of God!

When you realize that God is within each and every man woman & child, the idea of forcing any religion upon another is the height of absurdity!

Corrupt priests have been the willing accomplices to such heinous conflicts. They often became the imaginative torturers of non-believers and even sold tickets-to-heaven in the form of ‘indulgences’ to the rich, to line their own pockets, and build enormous, however lovely, cathedrals and temples while many of the common people remained perpetually close to starvation.

The Age of Confusion is mobbed by – yes, confusion! Practically everything you have ever read is clouded over by the miasma of Kali Yuga fog. As the saying goes: History is written by the conquerors – while the loser’s side of the story is routinely forgotten.

When you think about it, throughout most of written history all the great works of Art are the symbols of propaganda bought and paid for by ruling tyrants and religions seeking to dominate the world’s populations. Just ask Leonardo da Vinci who worked for the likes of Cesare Borgia, or Michelangelo who labored under the iron hand of a Vatican priest. Today’s artists are often answerable to the power of big money from the multinational corporations that own our world.

Even the wonderful descriptions of enlightenment that give us all hope were not experienced in the density of time we currently are living in. With no disrespect intended, it occurs to one that Lao Tzu, Jesus, and Buddha did not have to fight off chemtrails, microwaves, endocrine disrupting chemicals, or childhood television programming!

These days, in the Twilight of the Kali Yuga, it’s the Razor’s Edge – every step of the way Home. 

Knowledge of our essential Oneness is hard to come by in the Kali Yuga. Beneath the curtain of multiplicity – there is only ONE! This means that behind the apparent diversity of billions of individuals living on planet Earth, they are all only One. All are the ONENESS.

For those of you who have remembered past lives, you may have noticed a striking perplexing similarity in the basic character of each life. There may be certain repeating flaws and compulsions, traits or qualities that you begin notice have shown up over and over in lifetime after lifetime. You may be a high priest in Atlantis, or a dancing slave girl in 8th century Kashmir – but there is a pattern that continues throughout all your lives. This is because the genes in your current physical body are the latest ‘product’ of a long line of many bodies, lineages. You have access to the memories contained within the DNA of the body you currently inhabit.

It is as if the Creator generates certain rays or waveforms, which contain qualities of expression that remain in the genes throughout the cycles of time. As time descends down through the yugas further and further into density and ‘apparent’ solidification, ever more variations of expression are created, such as habits, impulses, likes & dislikes, etc. etc.

But underneath all this temporal multiplicity is the Oneness that we all are: meaning you and me, factory workers in China and the farmers of rural India, the world leaders and corporate tyrants, the Aborigines in Australia and the Pigmy tribes in Africa. We are all ONENESS beneath the temporal illusory Curtain of Multiplicity. This knowledge of Oneness has been hidden from us in the Kali Yuga, but once you truly Realize the God-within, you will Become that which you always have been.

The floodgates of Knowledge and Love will open – and you will never be the same. You will never be able look at another human being without compassion and you will never again judge them – for you will KNOW that YOU ARE THEM! As you judge them, so you judge and condemn yourself. And it turns out that as harrowing, dreadful and boring as the Kali Yuga is – in fact it is the fast lane to God Realization. The intensity of the Kali Yuga pressures you to WAKE UP!

Time does not exist outside the temporal illusory holographic matrix. Thus the Four Cycles of Time are simultaneous as are all your so-called ‘past’ lives.

Acceptance of the theory of the Cycles of Time might lead you to a sort of complacent resignation. After all, if we are ineluctably snared in the frequencies of confusion – then why bother? Because what is really exciting about the Kali Yuga is the understanding that in fact it is the easiest cycle to Remember who you are. The end of the Kali Yuga is a particularly favorable period to pursue true knowledge.

“Some will attain wisdom in a short time, for the merits acquired in one year during the Treta Yuga can be obtained in one day in the age of Kali.” –  [Shiva Purana, A. Danielou]

45. Hence during the Kali longevity, strength, and features become less and less. Men attain perfection within a short time.

46-47. What is gained by the practice of dharma for a year in the Treta Yuga is attained by the practice of it for a month in the Dvapara Yuga. In Kali an intelligent devotee attains the same in a day by practicing Dharma strenuously. – [Linga Purana, Section1, Chapter 40]

It’s a Cosmic Bargain Sale of sorts!  Therefore, take up the challenge to Remember who you are! Do not give in! So, the Darkside is fulfilling its own kind of dharma, doing its job of spreading the hand of tyranny over the planet and poisoning everything in its wake. What will you do? In these moments of challenge, of sorrow and of awakening consciousness, how will you behave? Can you find courage within yourself and compassion for others? Can you master the divine detachment that comes from knowing that what is unfolding is the grand Cosmic Design. Can you remember that every one and everything is God, Oneness – and this ONE is you.

You are this world, and you are the Love that breathes this temporal illusory holographic matrix out into multiplicity and inhales it back into quiescence – and back out again, eon after eon after eon. World without end! This universe is here for us all to play in. Surely, when you look at your life or perhaps many lives, in spite of all the pain, you do recognize the grand beauty of Creation.

Thus the question is what will you do now in this intensified exciting moment? And are you ready to move on into one of the 1000s of other universes – some without polarities or form or even time – all waiting, inviting you to come to yet another magnificent adventure in consciousness.

Symptoms of the Kali Yuga

Writing itself is a symptom of the Kali Yuga. Human beings have been living on planet Earth for 100s of 1000s of years before we have any record of the written word. From the Sanskrit texts the Vishnu Purana and the Linga Purana:

  • Thieves will become kings, and kings will be the thieves.
  • Rulers will confiscate property and use it badly. They will cease to protect the people.
  • Base men who have gained a certain amount of learning (without having the virtues necessary for its use) will be esteemed as sages.
  • There will be many displaced persons, wandering from one country to another.
  • Predatory animals will be more violent.
  • Fetuses will be killed in the wombs of their mothers.
  • People will prefer to choose false ideas.
  • No one will be able to trust anyone else.
  • People will be envious.
  • There will be many children born whose life expectancy is no more than 16 years.
  • People suffering from hunger and fear will take refuge in underground shelters.
  • Young girls will do trade in their virginity.
  • The god of clouds will be inconsistent in the distribution of the rains.
  • Shopkeepers will run dishonest businesses.
  • There will be many beggars and unemployed people.
  • Everyone will use hard and vulgar language.
  • Men will devote themselves to earning money; the richest will hold power.
  • The state leaders will no longer protect the people but, through taxes, will appropriate all wealth.
  • Water will be lacking.
  • [And my favorite]: Pre-cooked food will be readily available!

The fact that our food supply contains very little nutrition and is full of toxins reveals a great deal to me about the frequencies of Time we live in.

(From the Sanskrit texts the Vishnu Purana and the Linga Purana; and also a remarkable book entitled, While the Gods Play: Shiva Oracles and Predictions on the Cycles of History & the Destiny of Mankind, by Alain Danielou; Inner Traditions International Ltd., paperback, 1985.)

About the Author

V. Susan Ferguson is the author of Inanna Returns, Inanna Hyper-Luminal; her own commentary on the Bhagavad Gita and the Shiva Sutras; and Colony Earth & the Rig Veda. Her website is Metaphysical Musing.

This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

15
Aug

What do you see?

by adminadam in art

eartheye

16
Jun

Opening the Third Eye

by adminadam in articles, education

Naturally detoxify your pineal gland.

The pineal gland acts as the spiritual center of your brain. It produces both melatonin and DMT, otherwise known as the “spirit molecule”. It helps you to sleep, dream, and transcend the atomized, materialist world we live in. Unfortunately, through the constant abuse that is our everyday consumption and absorption of contaminated food, water, and air, the pineal gland calcifies, or hardens. This results in a major diminishing of its potential. It produces far less of the wonderful substances and hormones, like melatonin, that it should. Part of the reason that pineal gland calcification is such an issue is due to the fact that the pineal gland is a small (tiny) gland which is, however, exposed to some of the greatest volumes of blood-flow of any gland or organ in the body. Note: It is not behind the blood-brain barrier, although it is still considered part of the brain.

The major culprits in the calcification process are the halides (fluoride, bromide, and chloride). Also harmful are: mercury, pesticides, and excess calcium, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol. With this in mind it is advisable to avoid fluoridated water and toothpaste, high-mercury fish, non-organic food and produce, and similarly it is recommended to eat (and drink) moderately, eat fresh, eat organic, and ingest some of the following very beneficial and decalcifying natural foods and supplements:

Iodine is a proven detoxifying, decalcifying element. It is also something many people are deficient in around the world. In fact Americans used to consume much higher amounts of iodine, in addition to being given supplements like Lugol’s Solution for a wide variety of ailments, particularly metabolic ones. Iodine is necessary for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland and concomitantly it very efficiently flushes halides like fluoride out of your system — if you have enough of it, that is. If you begin supplementing with iodine, you may in fact notice just how good of a job it’s doing: you happen to come down with a variety curious and gruesome symptoms — nausea, acne, and fevers. These are actually the symptoms of fluoridism, bromidism, and chloridism; acute doses of these halides are being released into your system all of a sudden as a result of the detoxification process with iodine. You don’t feel such symptoms normally because A) you don’t (probably) consume acute doses of these halides, and B) because these toxins have been building up and hiding away in your fatty tissues, in your bones, and in calcium deposits all throughout your body for YEARS! Note that I am talking about detox symptoms that can occur upon starting supplementing iodine a la Iodoral, which is a substantial boost of 12.5mg of iodine per tablet. This amount is actually roughly equivalent to the average daily dose a Japanese person gets from their diet. Interestingly, Japanese people also have significantly lower rates of metabolic syndrome, thyroid issues (hyper-, hypo-, goiters), and also of breast cancer than we Westerners do. They get this bounty of iodine through kelp and seaweeds primarily. Other good food-based sources include cranberries, potatoes (with the skin), and yogurt.

A word to the wise if you are going to pursue supplementation with what we might call ‘acute’ doses of iodine, it is good to keep some things in mind: 1) the detox symptoms (which may be caused by a Herxheimer reaction due to bromine release) are temporary, 2) they are most likely a sign that you are detoxing from large quantities of halides, 3) the symptoms you feel as this is happening can be attenuated significantly, and 4) the way to do this, to ease your detox process, is to drink lots and lots of fresh, natural water, consume extra Vitamin C and some unrefined salt (good for bromine detox), and also supplement magnesium and calcium to ease the fluoride detox process, one which leeches calcium from your body on its way out, forming calcium-fluoride before being excreted.

Melatonin supplementation may be helpful in the decalcification process. It is also a powerful anti-oxidant which gobbles up damaging free-radicals and is helpful in falling and staying asleep.

Raw Apple Cider Vinegar such as Bragg’s contains malic acid, which is a powerful detoxifier. Remember to buy your vinegar raw — and go organic if you can. I put about a half-tablespoon of it into a tall glass of water and imbibe it. (I find this aids my digestion as well.)

Garlic acts as a decalcifier and is also an immune-booster and a natural antibiotic. I eat raw garlic finely chopped up — I actually swallow this with lots of water without chewing any of the pieces. This helps me avoid the burning sensation and intense flavors taking over my mouth. FYI, leaving your garlic to air out for a while after you chop it up allows for more of the essential oils and beneficial compounds in it to activate.

Oregano oil is a natural antibiotic that is apparently able to break through the calcium shells that harmful bacteria build around themselves within the pineal gland. Cool, huh?

Organic beets (and beet powder) contain high levels of naturally occurring boron, which is a powerful detoxifying agent and cleanser for the pineal gland. Eat the beats or mix the powder into a glass of your filtered or distilled (non-fluoridated) drinking water.

Cilantro, raw lemon juice, raw cacao, and chaga mushrooms are all said to be positive contributors in this fight as well, for various reasons. Cilantro as a general detoxifying food, the lemon juice for its citric acid, raw cacao for its high antioxidant content, and the chaga mushroom for its multiple phytonutrients and high melanin content. These are all probably very healthy for you otherwise as well. The superfood Chlorella, a species of single-cell green algae, is also great for detoxing (pulling heavy metals out of the body) and is packed with nutrients.

For cost effectiveness, try the apple cider vinegar, garlic, beets, and iodine-supplement route. From my research these are all superfoods (or supersupplements) that will boost your immune system and metabolism as they help you detoxify your body and decalcify your mind.

pineal-gland


SOURCE 1: Waking Times article on Detoxifying the Pineal Gland
SOURCE 2: Decalcifypinealgland.com, How-To article
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12
Jun

Linux Desktop Options

by adminadam in art, articles, home, videos

Last I wrote about Linux I summarized my findings from my research into the distributions of Linux with the longest-term stability and best customizability. I also looked at the variety of architectures (i.e. older hardware, older mac’s, etc.) on which these distributions could run.

I started with 12 distros and then narrowed them down to my top 7, mostly eliminating newer, more unstable, or less user-friendly distributions, such as Arch Linux, which, while popular, does not have a graphic installer, meaning you must know how to decipher the code and what to type into the console in order to get it installed in the first place.

The top 7 I ended up with were what I called the Most Extropian Linux Distributions available. They are resilient to internal (political) and external (economic and security) threats or disturbances. They are open and have strong communities of support. They are likely to last a long time and make it easy for new users to transition into Linux. They also play nicely with others and do all their homework daily. They are, in reverse order:

7. Slackware Linux (because it is old and still popular)
6. Puppy Linux (because it is small and can be run effectively from a USB stick)
5. Linux Mint (because it is popular, beautiful, and easy)
4. CentOS (because it is rock-solid and supported for up to 10 years)
3. Debian (because of its huge community, myriad customization options and supported architectures)
2. Fedora (because it is popular, beautiful, versatile, and fairly easy)
1. openSUSE (because it is easy, beautiful, popular, well-supported, and KDE-tastic*!)

Where I am at now in regards to this list is not much different from when I first summarized all the above-mentioned research I did. At this point I am making determinations of which desktop to invest my time in mastering — both for myself and for the purpose of being able to recommend an easy-to-use and nice-looking distro/desktop to my family and friends. You see, I have many family members with ailing PC’s. I have a friend with a PowerPC Mac that hardly runs a thing, and a grandfather with an old XP dinosaur. Both of their machines could be reinvented by utilizing any one of the above distributions (although I have serious doubts about my ever helping non-techie acquaintances to install Slackware or Puppy Linux). I will most likely push CentOS, Debian, Fedora, or openSUSE. While Linux Mint is great, as I’ve discussed, I worry about their small development team and their dependence on Ubuntu (and its mother-corp Canonical).

I have four distros in mind. Of these I have tried only Fedora (either as a hard-install or virtualized), and it’s been a while since I last touched them. I have my sources for reviews, however, namely Linux Outlaws, Everyday Linux, and Going Linux (the audio podcasts). I listen to these podcasts everyday driving to and from work in my commute and also read a wide assortment of Linux-related news from Hacker News, Slashdot, and Reddit.

With my current knowledge I lean towards Debian and openSUSE the most as my likely Top Two recommendations for friends and family. I love how Fedora 18 and 19 look. I also love CentOS’s 10-year support cycle — it is simply amazing. What I cannot get behind completely with Fedora is its rapid release cycle of only 18 months. The support term is concomitantly too short, around 12-13 months. CentOS is solid but looks a bit clunky and is a bit behind the times with many of its preinstalled packages, however, so I still hesitate about it too, sadly.

Debian and openSUSE, on the other hand, have 2-to-3-year support cycles. They both also support PowerPC processors (old mac’s), and of course old PC’s! They both offer multiple desktop options: GNOME, KDE, and XFCE at least. Also, both have very large development communities or dev teams. Debian’s default desktop is GNOME (although you can download a pre-wrapped version with either KDE or XFCE as well as LXDE). I will most likely use KDE or GNOME as they are the best known, most popular, and best supported desktop environments. openSUSE, inversely, comes by default with KDE but can be downloaded locked-and-loaded with GNOME or XFCE too.

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