Digital Anarchy – The Implications Of Crypto-Currencies & The Blockchain And Their Effect On Civilization

February 20, 2018
A special guest post written by Phil White (with contributions by hebgb) and re-printed with permission.

With the recent explosion in volatility, and the inevitable crash that it portends (the financial crisis of 2008 will have been a mere blip by comparison,) it is important to understand what the world of distributed ledger technologies (and, to a lesser extent, the crypto-currencies underpinning them) can offer people in terms of financial security, individual sovereignty, and improvements to the human condition. This article aims to define the terms associated with this new technology, clarify some of the misconceptions about crypto-currencies, put to rest some of the fears many have, and introduce some lesser-known applications of this largely untested, but radically different system that promises to fundamentally change the way the world functions. The teams currently working on this technology truly are trying to change the world in order to make it more inclusive, diverse, accessible, and secure. It could rightly be called ‘digital anarchy’.

If you thought the crypto space was about digital cash, you’ve missed out on 99% of what DLTs will be doing for humanity. In the comment section of a popular financial website, Zero Hedge, the user called Mr. Universe said,
“I’m starting to mine ACME coins right now. I built a farm in a cave I painted on the side of a mountain.”
Although funny, it succinctly states that which many wrongly think about the entire CC space.

When people talk about Bitcoin, what they are really talking about is much bigger than even they realize. Most people think that using the term Bitcoin describes the entire crypto-currency space, all the underlying blockchain technology, and all the applications which have arisen and will arise from this technology. This is, obviously, an overly simplistic view and is akin to saying that the term ‘concert ticket’ adequately describes every musical genre, band, and instrument, and explains how all songs are written, recorded, and sold. So let’s disambiguate.

Bitcoin (BTC) has become something of a generic term used to describe everything blockchain. It is a mistake, and one made by most mainstream reports on the topic, to refer to BTC and other crypto-currencies (CCs) as though they were the same thing. It is also a mistake to refer to the blockchain as though it applies equally to all coins. Blockchains are not singular entities, but refer instead to a structure containing within them the data and the history behind every transaction applied through their use.  It is this process through which CCs and smart-contracts establish trust, account for transactions, and secure the information of such transactions for all time. There exist many blockchains, each with distinct properties, which can operate independently or be linked together into networks of networks. Think of a blockchain as a separate intranet, linked to many other intranets, all of which are connected (but need not be) through the internet. DLTs (distributed ledger technologies) can be thought of as the multitude of different blockchains. Some DLTs, such as Hashgraph (a consensus algorithm,) which is also a DAG (directed acyclic graph), are not technically blockchains but fulfill the same role.

BTC is a digital coin as are Ethereum (ETH,) Litecoin (LTC,) Ripple (XRP,) etc. Think of them as subway tokens. If you want to ride on the BTC line and take advantage of the benefits of BTC, you will need to exchange some of your money for BTC. The same applies to all crypto-coins. Each provides a different set of services with their own individual pros and cons. The BTC train does not stop at ETH stations, and vice-versa. To take advantage of ETH’s services, you would need to trade some of your money for ETH, and the same goes for any other coin. Blockchains are not (yet) fully compatible.
The entire BTC line can be seen as the BTC blockchain, the string of transactions which have already taken place and the data they contain. It is always growing. There are many ways to build a blockchain – some trains are faster than others, some are more expensive to ride, some require more powerful engines (and use more energy,) some have tinted windows to protect privacy, some are local, some are international, and some even go to secret locations. Some lines publish their maps and allow anyone to come aboard, others are private and only show their maps to members.

In this sense, BTC is to CCs as a certain blockchain is to DLTs; it is merely one of many varieties. Pardon the semantics, but unless referring to one individual blockchain, it is a mistake to refer to ‘the blockchain’ as a single entity.

Crypto-Currencies (CCs)
CCs describe all the coins which one can purchase in order to participate in a certain decentralized application. There are currently some 1500+ coins representing at least as many projects, some of which are designed to improve a current system, some are designed to create brand new systems, some are designed to turn a profit, but all share the goal of solving a particular problem or set of problems. Contrary to popular belief, CCs were not designed to act as speculative investment vehicles. CCs can best be compared to crowd-funding for start-ups. They are usually released through ICOs (initial coin offerings – the decentralized version of IPOs,) though they need not be. CCs can be traded over exchanges such as (in no particular order) GDax, Bitfinex, Bitthumb, Huobi, Bittrex, Poloniex, Binance, Coinbase, Kraken, Cryptopia, QuadrigaCX, … like any other currency can be traded in the Forex market.

Decentralized Applications (DApps)
DApps promise to eliminate the middle-man by directly connecting users with providers over P2P (peer-to-peer) networks called the blockchain. For example, if Twitter was a DApp, tweets could not be censored because they would not rely on any one server which is controlled by a single entity. DApps and smart contracts are built on top of algorithms.

If eBay were a DApp, buyers and sellers would communicate directly without the developers charging fees, setting conditions, or refusing clients. The difference is that DLTs replace servers (by spreading computing power over multiple computers) so no third-party has any control over the transaction by controlling the servers through which they run.

If we compare a DApp like Bitcoin (BTC) to a centralized App such as PayPal, both of which were designed to facilitate payments, we see that while PayPal controls the servers through which financial transactions are made, and in so doing can control every aspect of the user’s account (holding transactions for up to eight business days, for example) and could even, through the actions of a bad actor, remove money from the account, use the account illicitly, or even close the account for arbitrary reasons, BTC, not being under the control of any one individual or group, does not allow for an intervention in any of the transactions passing through the network. This is what is meant by ‘decentralized’. (N.b. There is a possibility of compromising the network through a 34% attack, but more on this later.)

Forgive the repetitiveness of the above, but this point cannot be over-stated; the problem with the internet, its lack of security, and the ability for certain entities to control/censor large parts of it, lies in the fact that everything revolves around the use of servers. Servers are the means by which information is controlled. DLTs re-distribute the power of control and put it in the hands of the people using the system instead of those who own the servers. An excellent example of this is social media. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube… can all, rightly, control what gets published over their servers. Wouldn’t it be nice if a social media DApp were developed which could not be censored? Wouldn’t it be nice if there were no need for advertising (which doesn’t work anyways) and the spying which underpins it? (The only reason companies spy on users’ personal habits, the surveillance state not withstanding, is so that users can better be advertised to in order to pay for the infrastructure supporting the servers.) Wouldn’t it also be nice if authors owned the information they put online instead of transferring ownership to those who publish it? The very notion of free speech on the internet depends upon the ability to control the dissemination of that speech, itself. There has never been free speech on the internet. Everything can be censored. Much like if one were to visit a neighbour and act the fool in their home, the host would, and should, be able to kick that guest off of their property. Facebook is not a public space, Facebook is a private space. They can and do decide what is allowed. The government can block protests on public land because, in this case, ‘public land’ is merely a designation; the land is owned by the government. Nobody owns the blockchain.

The truth is that the world is in the process of undergoing a massive change in the way it conducts its business. It is crucially important for everyone to grasp exactly what is involved as it will surely affect the lives of everyone on Earth and change the way people look at life, business, finance, social networks, the internet, governments, elections, privacy, freedom… which are all going to have to change in a fundamental way.

Permissions, nodes, layers, shards, and APIs
Permissioned ledgers/networks are relatively simple in terms of incentives; your incentive for running a node (one of the computers that is running the system – approving transactions, storing data, etc.) is participation; if you want to play a game, you must join that game’s network, and means you need permission to run a node. Airlines could each be a node in the airline network. Musical artists could be their own nodes, or brokers could run their nodes for them. Why not buy concert tickets from the artist directly? On public networks (non-permissioned ledgers,) the incentives are much more complex, and will not be discussed here.

 

One can think of networked communications as comprised of a series of layers. There can be a crypto currency layer, a consensus layer, a security layer, a data layer, etc., and all of these are built upon each other. They can be described as an algorithm sandwich. Every layer slows down the system, introduces additional points for bugs to creep in, and increases the complexity of communication between the layers. Speed, throughput (the amount of information being processed within a system in a given amount of time,) security, and fairness must be maintained throughout all the layers despite constant additions. The pieces of the layers cannot be thought of individually, they must be addressed holistically.

Systems that use many shards (the partitioning of databases into smaller parts) need to be fast, but systems that need to operate on only one shard need fast shards. Shards are like processors in your computer; some programs need many, some need only one. Some applications/programs will not be any better if there are many shards. Some need the multiple shards to run more efficiently. This is largely relative to the size of the network. Shards can be looked at as bricks. Even if the security of one shard is good, how will the security be affected when putting these shards together? Strong bricks can build weak walls or strong walls, whereas weak bricks can only build weak walls. Shards are being built to be modular so that if a better brick is developed, it can be inserted into the wall at a later date.

An application programming interface (API) is, in basic terms, a way for different components of a program to communicate together.

Common Myths About CCs
There are many false notions about CCs which are being put forth by otherwise well-educated and well-intentioned individuals and organizations. Several economists, bankers, traders, politicians, and others have been arguing against the advent of CCs. The arguments they raise against the use of blockchain as it pertains to money are well known but are usually not very accurate and can be very biased. The following are a selection of common myths, misconceptions, and arguments which are, at best, weak.

No backing, no intrinsic value
It has been said that CCs do not represent anything of value, are not backed by anything of value, and consist of nothing more than ones and zeros on a computer screen. There are many problems with this statement.
There are some CCs which are backed by various physical goods such as gold or oil. They are not the first. The US dollar was backed by physical gold until 1973 and the country of Tatarstan still backs its currency with both wheat and oil. It may be the only country left in the world which does not use fiat currency.

tatarstan_coins

OneGramCoins (OGC) are each backed by one gram of physical gold and became the world’s first gold-backed digital coin. Venezuela has released the Petro (Petromoneda – PTR) crypto-coin which is backed by over five billion barrels of oil currently held in reserves. These are but two examples of how certain coins are being backed by physical commodities and they are not alone. This being said, they are certainly the exception rather than the rule. Most coins are backed, not by goods, but by services. Owning these coins allow the users access to services which would otherwise not be possible. Some claim that this is not a backing, but in reality, it is simply a different form of backing. A similar and related point brought against CCs is that they have no intrinsic value. Some would argue that neither does fiat currency, nor any of the other multitude of goods which have been used as currency throughout the ages such as: seashells; tally sticks; beads; modern nickel and copper coins; etc. The problem with this is that even precious goods, once they fall out of favour for whatever reason, also lose their intrinsic value. (Silver lost much of its value with the advent of digital photography.) The value of CCs is what they allow the holder to do with them. Access to computational power, for example, is certainly of value to mathematicians seeking to discover new prime numbers. Access to micro-loans is a very valuable service to those in emerging market economies seeking to improve the quality of their lives. Examples of intrinsic value are endless. Some who defend CCs have stated that it is the underlying technology which gives coins their value, but this is not accurate. The tech itself is mostly public and of little value. The way a certain team of individuals applies the technology gives the project, and therefore, the coin, value.

CCs are nothing but scams, fads, and Ponzi schemes
There are currently over 1500 CCs which comprise companies, staff, budgets, and goals. It is beyond credulity to insinuate that all these hundreds of thousands of people are all in on a scheme to defraud the rest of the population. Certainly, some coins, ICOs, and blockchain projects are merely scams (or even jokes) and several have been proven to be schemes to defraud investors. These represent a very small percentage of the overall market, and the same can be said of any asset class. Buyer beware. But it is nothing more than a paranoid delusion to imply that all coin projects, or even a majority thereof, are scams. Many, maybe even most of the coins on offer today will end up being worthless, but so will the majority of shares in small companies. Early adopters often suffer the greatest losses or the greatest gains. But early adoption helps the industry develop and grow, which is what fuels a rise in value in the first place. Traditional markets can also be compared to Ponzi schemes considering the boom-bust cycle and the bank bail-outs and bail-ins which fuel it.
CCs are not like break-dancing, and they will not go away.

CCs are in a bubble – tulips
When one looks at the market for CCs of late, it would be easy to think that it is in a bubble. BTC is often compared to tulips, hearkening back to the Dutch tulip mania which collapsed in 1637. The only problem with this analogy is that BTC has been there before, losing over a third of its value many times in the past, only to rebound and come back stronger than ever. This, of course, is not to say that it will continue to do this forever. BTC could very well go to zero one day, but calling it a bubble every time it goes up in value is disingenuous and disregards its almost ten year history. Whether or not BTC is in bubble territory is not so important. With the recent growth in the space, even if BTC were to suffer a catastrophic loss of value, there would be many other coins ready to take its place. Saying that the entire CC market is in a bubble is also misguided considering that the tech bubble burst when values were at the $7T level. The entire CC space now sits at about $500B. It is the author’s personal belief that the market is in its infancy and that the total value of CCs will only rise to eclipse the value of every asset class in history. Many have said that CCs will give rise to the world’s first (official) trillionaire. CCs may one day be in a bubble, but for the moment, the bubble has only just begun to inflate. It is more like a blister on the financial world’s heel.
There are just over 1400 people, private individuals in the US alone, not counting corporations, banks, hedge funds, etc., who make $60M per year.
Globally, there are about 1800 crypto wallets worth over $10M.
Do you still think it’s a bubble?

Traditional market analysis
This leads us to look at the metrics used to evaluate traditional markets. There are no comparisons possible between the usual tools and CC analysis. This becomes quite obvious when looking at CC charts. Certain patterns tend to emerge which are not seen in the lower volatility regime of stocks and bonds et al. Using these methods to glean a forecast of crypto-performance is akin to measuring a bottle’s volume with a sextant or the distance to the nearest star with a bathroom scale. Many traditional tools are more than useless even in the domain for which they are intended, but trying to find a place for them in the CC market is simply wrong-headed.

CCs are speculative investment vehicles
CCs were not meant nor were they designed to be used as speculative investment vehicles. The fact that many have made fortunes trading CCs is secondary to their true purpose. CCs can be seen in much the same way as crowd-funding resources or even municipal bonds. They are simply a  way in which capital can be raised in order to support an underlying project. They could more accurately be called digital start-up capital. Anything which lives in a highly volatile milieu can be traded for enormous gains or losses, but without the underlying goals, the coins themselves have no meaning. The coins have become as a proxy; rather than buying stocks or investing in IPOs (sometimes also backed by ideas and intrinsically worthless,) the coins serve as the assets traded and represent an investment in the idea, in the team, or both.

CCs can be hacked
This is a common misconception. There is much conflation between the coins, their companies, and the exchanges which allow for their trading. No crypto coin, including BTC has ever been hacked. Blockchains and distributed ledgers do not get hacked. On the other hand, many exchanges have been hacked. The irony is that if the internet had been secured using a DLT security layer, hacking exchanges would be orders of magnitude more difficult. Many CCs have also been lost or stolen, but this is a different matter altogether. Lots of money is either lost or stolen every year, as well.

No electricity, no CC
A common argument against CCs is that access to them is removed during a power failure. While this is mostly true, it is no different than with fiat money. Credit cards, debit cards, ATMs, and even bank employees do not work during power outages. Unless one has cash on hand, which CCs do not preclude, access to money is always in short supply during blackouts. Paper wallets can be traded like IOUs or stock certificates during power outages. Digital wallets run on batteries, and can be used to transfer coins.

Production (electricity) costs are prohibitive
While this has been true for some coins using the proof-of-work algorithm (PoW,) the same cannot be said of newer coins which use proof-of-stake (PoS) algorithm, amongst others. There are many algorithms in use today including proof-of-stake-velocity (PoSV,) proof-of-importance (PoI,) proof-of-capacity (PoC, includes varieties called proof-of-storage and proof-of-replication,) proof-of-burn (PoB,) proof-of-asset (PoA,) and proof-of-run (PoR). While the cost of ‘mining’ can be high, it need not be. [Explanations of these algorithms is beyond the scope of this article, but a simple explanation can be found here.]

Network fees are prohibitive
This is also true for certain coins, but many coins can be traded with no, or very low fees. Let’s not forget that credit card companies charge 3-4% on every transaction. This is temporary and all coins will soon cost nearly nothing to use.

Network transactions/clearing take(s) a long time
While some coins can take a matter of hours to clear, the majority of coins clear almost instantly. This depends on throughput. Bank wires take several days to clear. PayPal can hold funds for up to eight business days. Western Union, while quicker, charges enormous fees. This argument is obsolete.

Internet shut-downs would kill CCs
It can be argued that CCs rely on the internet to be of any use. There is some truth to this, but it is not completely true. CCs can be exchanged through local wallet to wallet transactions, paper wallets can be printed and traded like IOUs,  and intranets based on local servers can be used to transfer funds. These transactions will not be recorded on their blockchains (until updated) and the security measures inherent in the system to guard against things such as double-spending would, obviously, not be in place. Nevertheless, the internet was designed to be redundant, and a major persistent shut-down has never occurred. National shut-downs have occurred and are a threat to those living in such a place. The natural option here is to re-locate, but that option is not open to everybody. It should be noted that governments, while they do hold the power to shut down the internet in their own respective countries, can not shut it down on a world-wide scale. It should also be noted that if the government wants to, it can use regulation to limit the use of CCs, so why shut down the web? Governments can and have confiscated all manner of things from blankets to gold and could confiscate CCs, as well. Whether or not they would succeed is another story. The irony is that the use of DLTs will make governments more responsive to the people (if they control their own money) rather than the banks (that do so now.) DLTs can also make governments more transparent and can even eliminate corruption by making elections open and secure, making all government accounting public information, and limit fraud, over-spending, and black budgets by governments that hide tax-payer money for illicit purposes, which they all currently do, without exception. Using a blockchain to account for government finances would immediately expose black budgets. (If total expenditures are greater than revenue plus debt, where does the extra money come from?)

Elites control the price of CCs
As in any market, it is the whales who get their way; this is not common only to CCs. Large holders of any asset, be they institutional or private, can manipulate price, volume, and demand to a large extent. Current manipulations can be seen in the gold market among others, algo-driven trading determines prices across almost all markets, futures trading affects price, as does government regulation. This is no different than the current fiat regime. The difference is that with CCs, people will come to control much more than any billionaire or corporate entity could afford to buy. Once the threshold of control passes into the hands of the public and the ratio of ownership changes, these shenanigans will be much more difficult to rig. This is a temporary problem.

CCs will usher in a one-world government
This is quite a claim, but the argument is not a new one. It is without doubt that there has been a move towards digital currencies. These, however are not the same as CCs. Digital currencies are simply fiat money but without the cash. It is the elimination of cash which has led to reports of global governance, which is a real phenomenon, but one which does not rely on CCs. Hence the conflation. As it happens, the only way to subvert any actions governments might take to consolidate their power over the populace is through the advent of personal and financial sovereignty. Only DLTs are currently positioned to offer a path in that direction.

If McAfee eats his manhood, cryptos are dead
Much has been made of the wager offered up by one of the gurus of CCs and DLT technology. If indeed BTC does not attain the heights to which John McAfee claims, it only speaks to BTC’s failures as a viable technology. While the CC markets seem to be closely correlated to BTC’s price, many coins are expected to fall by the wayside as the technology progresses. BTC has many problems which can better be addressed by other DLTs. The movie industry didn’t die when VHS was replaced with DVDs. The same can be said of this non-argument.

CCs are not money
Well, here again we get into semantics. There are many definitions of money. Here’s what money is, to most people: Money is that which one gets for one’s labour, and that which one trades for goods and services required. For most people, CCs can just as easily be money as can coins and bills, or silver and gold, or seashells and beads. CCs have an advantage though; they can be sent instantly anywhere in the world. In many parts of the world, CCs have been accepted as methods of payment for everything from homes to bullion to clothing and to lunch.

There are two arguments for CCs relating to money which are rarely, if ever, brought up. The first is that because of their limited supply, they are invulnerable to hyper-inflation unlike the currency of certain nations: Argentina; Venezuela; Germany; and Zimbabwe, to name a few. This is not to say that they cannot lose value if they become obsolete, only that the money supply is inalterable. It is control of the money supply, the amount of money circulating through the economy, which most influences its value.
The second is more down-to-Earth. Currently, most of the children under twelve who have any experience on the internet have used some form of CC or token. It is the only knowledge most of them have regarding the wide world of finance. They have been earning tokens from any number of online video games and exchanging them for upgrades to their characters or for the purchase of useful equipment. As far as the economy goes, besides the fifty-dollar bill grandma’ puts in their Christmas card every year, it is the only experience these children have with money, and they use it almost every day. These children have no trust issues with CCs, are very comfortable trading them, and are growing up rather quickly. They are the future, and the world will belong to them. It is only natural that they apply that which they know best to the world they will have a hand in creating.

What are some of the problems we face, and what are the solutions DLTs offer?
DLTs came about, not by chance, but for a reason. Their purpose has simply been to solve problems. CCs can help fund teams of thinkers and dreamers who wish to tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues. The following are just some of the more pertinent problems the world has yet to solve, but as we have left it to governments and NGOs to do these things for us, and as their mandates have largely been ignored or have failed, it is time we take back the power for ourselves in order to effect change on our shared planet. Problems like corruption, sovereignty, freedom, poverty, and war have been put aside in lieu of more important issues, or so say the international institutions we relied upon to fix them, and have instead been replaced by measures like austerity, increased surveillance, immigration, political correctness, terrorism, and one-world government. How much longer were we supposed to wait?

Most of these ‘solutions’ are not panaceas, rather, they offer the opportunity for those who suffer from these problems to bring about their own solutions. Whether it is by crypto-anarchists who want to free themselves of all forms of governmental control, or by the financial industry (first-adopters) who want more freedom to profit from within the current regulatory framework, or by workers in emerging markets who want more control over their financial lives, the issue of sovereignty has always played a major role in the development of DLTs. Sovereignty is the basis for many of the projects which have been launched in this space, and it comes in many forms.

Micro-loans have become very popular in less developed markets. This industry has made many people rich and even more have been made richer than they were. There are many ways to implement micro-loans over DLTs, but the important part to take from this is that no third party is needed. Instead of one wealthy person serving as banker to the poor, there is no reason why anyone cannot become a lender of small amounts of money half-way around the globe. Certain CCs are making this easy and are reducing the cost of borrowing money for people everywhere. Why should the rich get to borrow large sums for free (at 0% interest, or close to it) when the poor are charged significantly more? By removing the middle-man, fees can be eliminated altogether and interest can either be waived by philanthropic individuals or be brought down to levels comparable to those which large borrowers currently pay. In the same vein, people who choose to sell goods to others over peer-to-peer (P2P) networks can eliminate the fees charged by auction sites like eBay, as well as all the associated costs of currency conversion and transaction fees from payment processors like PayPal, not to mention that the transactions would be instantaneous. Even if paid upon reception, a linked sidechain could be appended to the blockchain in order to track a parcel sent through the mail.

Banks running dark pools want secure data storage and encrypted communication between nodes. They want to share information but don’t trust each other. Banks in dark pools have to trust one bank that runs the servers. Controlling a server gives an advantage to those who control it. There are no privileged parties in the blockchain.
Banks, credit unions, credit card companies, insurance companies, investment brokers… the entire financial services industry could save lots of money on security. Instead of protecting one server, the cost of securing the network would be evenly distributed amongst all the participants. Early adopters of the tech were the crypto-anarchists and the financial industries.
By this point, some of you might be thinking that there would be no need for banks at all. That might very well be true for personal banking needs, but institutional needs are a different matter. Financial industries are leading the charge; banks and insurance companies want speed and security and fairness, believe it or not, but just amongst themselves and not necessarily for the greater good. The entire insurance industry has already adopted Hashgraph (currently the fastest and most secure DLT) as their new standard.
This is not to say that the reduced presence of banks in the lives of people would not be greeted with enthusiasm, as it certainly would. Nobody would argue that banks don’t make enough money, with the possible exception of bankers. Perhaps their role in the world could be lessened while the people enjoy more of their money and the freedom that comes with financial sovereignty.

Employers who paid their staff with CCs and through DLTs would not incur fees, nor would anyone ever need to be charged for cashing a cheque. And since all payments could be made through smart contracts, the payroll and tax accounting could be taken care of automatically further reducing costs for business owners.

An insecure internet
Who hasn’t been exposed to spam? Many have also been victims of phone spoofing. (The telephone network, built long ago, is also very vulnerable and insecure.) Distributed denial of service attacks ( DDoSs) can easily take down websites through their use of bot-nets. Hacking, through code insertions (popular amongst websites which use Flash,) distribution of viruses, trojans, worms, etc., affect us all, at some time. ‘Game theory’ attacks can affect international financial systems as has been the case with recent attacks on the SWIFT system. Firewall attacks are also common.

The current internet of things (IOT) is both fragile and vulnerable and introduces many more potential bots in the form of dishwashers, printers, webcams… which are susceptible to being taken over by malicious forces using bot-nets for DDoS attacks and other nefarious purposes.

DLTs can be built in a layer on top of the internet in order to add security and overcome the flaws inherent in the network. Changes are very difficult to implement into the current underlying technology of the internet. Adding a secure layer on top of the internet provides an excellent way to make these changes quickly and to make them scalable. Serious security protocol vulnerabilities, which persist for years and are sometimes not noticed until they are exploited, can be eliminated. A trust layer (verification) would solve spam if everyone were to send mail through trusted and decentralized networks. Hackers would find that their methods of stealing information and vandalizing systems would be greatly limited. (It should be noted that all software is inherently vulnerable to hacking. If it can be programmed, it can be hacked. DLTs would mitigate the risks and bring the probabilities of successful attacks down to insignificance. More importantly, DLTs would instantly inform all the users on a network that a hack had taken place thus making it much easier to limit its spread and greatly reduce its effects.)

Firewall attacks refer to the 34% rule, as mentioned above. If a malicious actor or group of actors can control 34% of the computers running a network, the entire network can be compromised. This is true for all systems. It is very unlikely that any group could ever come to control 34% of all the computers (or nodes) on a network, but the problem today is that entire networks can be compromised through the control of only one computer. This is the very worst possible scenario, and is the paradigm which the internet finds itself under today. It is one which currently costs businesses untold billions in internet security. These costs could be eliminated, or greatly reduced, through the immediate implementation of DLT technology.

If security and privacy were not necessary, then we could just use a server, but if security slows down the process too much, it wouldn’t be accepted. The answer is not to scale down security, rather to build a better system where the security does not hinder throughput. Systems need to take considerations of speed into account. A faster system is a better system (and in many cases a more secure one,) and processes inherent in some DLTs are faster than anything currently available.

Another aspect to security is that the incentives to act in good faith (good faith would not even need to be a consideration with strong verification) are vastly outweighed by the incentives to game the current system for bribes, coercion, and financial or political gain. When billions of dollars are at stake, the threat of fines or a short stint in a minimum security facility is no deterrent. DLTs can, and do, offer better incentives for all involved to act correctly. If everyone used strong locks, thievery might be eliminated. In the same way, if everyone used strong networks, negative actions would not be worth the trouble. (Better enforcement of current regulations would also help, but that is another story, altogether.)

Peripheral costs and benefits
There has been much focus on the fact that the current system the internet is built around is having enormous and detrimental effects on people using social media, especially on the youth. It has been said that we are now all ‘alone together’. Culture has changed overnight and on a massive scale. Ironically, online social interactions are hurting social skills amongst the youth. Loneliness and depression increase with ‘smart’ phone use. Fewer distractions could lead to a greater attention span and more efficient cognitive processes. Technology has already altered our consciousness and our culture.

Servers carry much of the blame for this problem, as well. The current state of internet technology and the way it is implemented hinders true communities from forming. Instead, people interact, not within groups, but one-on-one within a group. DLTs could change the very nature of group interaction by making it possible to create virtual worlds (everyone would have the power to create their own virtual universe without necessarily exerting control over the group.) Leemon Baird calls these ‘shared worlds’.

With shared worlds, one wouldn’t have to pay for access, there would be no limit to membership, anything would be possible, interactions would be group-based and not just one-on-one times a hundred, the structure could be democratic or tyrannical, and the market would decide which it preferred. Users could even vote on the direction the world took. They would put Civilization, Sims, and all the other ‘Tycoon’ games to shame.

Liberals and conservatives could go their own way and isolate themselves or learn to live together and play nice with everyone. Don’t want to deal with hate-speech? Make your own rules. Want to encourage free speech? The same applies.
This is the elimination of cultural borders within state borders. It is also the implementations of borders within state borders. In a phrase, it is the advancement of total freedom to associate.

Different shared worlds could connect to each other. Imagine starting one’s own stock market or video game as easily as typing a letter. A certain world could issue/manage a CC which could be used by several shared worlds. Data storage, game environments (like Minecraft,) alert systems,… all could be created without paying for hosting services, and changes made to one world would instantly propagate throughout all these connected worlds.

Thus everyone could interact as though they were in a group instead of interacting with others one-at-a-time. Advances in virtual reality (VR) would help. This would have positive effects on the psychology of those who partake in social media. Not to mention, instead of being alone together, kids could hang out and truly be together. For example, instead of a ‘zombie’ user walking into a lamp-post, those in the group could warn that user that a lamp-post was in their way. This is a very basic example, but the possibility of increasing the group dynamic within the social media space, depending on the level of VR technology available, is unlimited. Whatever way this develops, it is important, and is becoming more and more urgent, that we build a society based on benevolence, compassion, and teamwork instead of greed.

The culture of the developers, and of the entire blockchain revolution, is central to this new paradigm. Cultural issues affect the technology being developed, how the technology is to be implemented, and how the technology influences the world’s culture as a whole.

Griefing (vandalizing digital property/assets) can be eliminated through the implementation of DLTs. Much can be gleaned about property rights through this one simple example.

Systems for such things as distributed computing and data storage could be made much more effective and secure thus enabling large-scale projects (some of which already exist) to more efficiently use the resources of the entire network as though it were one machine. Networks could be turned into super-computers more powerful than any in existence, and that would make it possible to make use of unused, and currently wasted, computing resources. (The advent of AI is a different thing, but despite its dangers, that discussion is beyond the scope of this article.) This would indirectly allow those whose electricity costs are high to take advantage of lower energy costs elsewhere in the world. This, in turn, would incentivize governments, not only to reduce the costs of energy, but to find and adopt better methods to generate power. Technologies which threaten the profitability of dangerous industries (such as nuclear power generation) would be made available to the public. Nikolai Tesla might finally get his wish. Technologies such as water-based engines, LFTR – thorium reactors, hydrogen fuel cells, etc., the patents for which have been bought by private corporations and locked away in a safe, could now be brought out to the benefit of all. Free energy has been proposed by many people, and whether these technologies can be proven to work or not, at least their potential can now be examined openly. The incentive to hide beneficial technology from the public in lieu of higher profits can be done away with.

Thomas Rau has some interesting insights into some of the potential applications of DLTs. He envisions a ‘material passports’ which could be implemented in order to re-use all the raw materials that go into building all the products in existence.

Protect your information/privacy while sharing it
This might sound like an impossibility, and under the current system, it might well be, but through the use of DLTs, this can become the new standard for information access. Take the case of a driver’s license, as an example. If some entity needs to see your driver’s license in order to get some information about you, why would you want them to see your street address and/or any other information contained within the document which is not relevant to the matter at hand? DLTs can limit exactly what information is to be shared with concerned parties. The validity of your license can be verified independently of any associated information, and can even be done anonymously. The license itself can be verified without the identity of the user being divulged. This would be beneficial to a great number of things such as medical records, voting records, tax information, property ownership… and the list goes on.

Using this method could make governments transparent and accountable while, at the same time, protecting sensitive information such as state secrets which impact national security. I do not believe that governments want to stifle this technology, rather, they want to prevent the public from using it against them. Results of FISC (FISA court) procedures could be made public while protecting the underlying classified information. Immigration documents, passports, social insurance cards, gun registration documents… could all be better managed using this system. Imagine the implications.

Also, and perhaps even more importantly, the revocation of a document would be shown across the network instantly. This would relegate forged documents to the dustbin of history. Indeed, some of the best applications for DLTs, as far as governments and banks are concerned, is the eradication of counterfeiting. This was the main focus of the Chinese (and others’) government’s investigations into DLT technology at the outset. Serial numbers on fiat currency (being a centralized use) once put on the blockchain (decentralized information) could indicate counterfeit bills at point-of-sale locations everywhere. The same technology could be applied to all manner of documents. Even proprietary software applications which are offered on a trial basis could be monitored more easily. Software piracy would become a thing of the past.

Even the gold industry has started integrating blockchain-based gold trading which could lead to a re-emergence of the gold standard replacing fiat currencies the world over. This is just speculation, for the moment, but who knows where this could lead?

Education and ownership
Education, as it exists now, is a costly endeavour and is limited to a certain strata of the population. Student debt is currently a huge hindrance to those just getting started in life. DLTs could make all educational materials available to all people, all across the world, and at no cost to the users, all the while protecting the rights of those who contributed/authored course materials. Imagine what could be accomplished if the sum of all human knowledge were available to anyone who wanted it. The potential genius of those without access to information could be unlocked and put to the best use society would have for it. How many potential Nobel laureates have gone unnoticed? How many stupendous innovations have been lost to class divisions or geographical chance?

This could change the way the world thinks about intellectual property, patents, copyrights, and the notion of ownership itself, while ushering in a world of co-operation instead of the current paradigm of competition. Some might claim communistic overtones, which is by no means the intent here. What this really portends is the advent of a purer form of capitalism. Whether this leads to an abandonment of banks (or even money per se,) will be decided by the market, and by the people themselves. Further, what this actually indicates is the possibility that many contradictory paradigms can co-exist instead of necessarily leading to animosity, hatred, or war.

Groups could start working together, not only to come up with solutions, but to fine-tune those solutions and come up with others, and by comparing them, come up with the best solutions instead of the most profitable ones over the near-term. This really changes the focus from short-term profits for a few to long-term benefits for all.

People might start making movies based on merit rather than box-office expectations. News media might even take-up proper journalistic standards instead of chasing ratings. Although this may be a premature argument to make, it does lead one to think about the truly awesome possibilities DLTs present. It is sure to raise interesting questions and spark debate over fundamental issues the world has, so far, taken for granted.

 

Take-aways
Some of the things which are central to the adoption of DLTs include: security; trust/verifiability; speed; throughput (expressed in transactions per second;) consensus; fragility; scalability; redundancy; invisibility (working in the background;) privacy (sovereign identity;) latency (timing;) revocation; transparency (banking, government;) and sharding.
While a very few of these attributes are applicable to current technology, only DLTs offer the possibility of integrating all of these benefits into the goods and services we all use everyday.

It is also important to understand that there are many issues which need to be addressed and resolved before this technology is adopted on a larger scale. Some of these issues include technical implementation, social considerations, political implications, organizational hierarchies, regulatory systems, and the legal aspects underlying all of the above. There are also some philosophical questions (which were touched upon above) left to consider. The main issue (and one which could be facilitated by the very technology in question) is that whatever course we, as a united human organism choose to take, that course will be decided upon freely instead of being foisted upon us by some outside force with a vested interest in retaining the status quo.

This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The possibilities are truly endless, and the technology is very much still in its infancy.




*Update*
Russia is in the process of implementing Ethereum-based blockchain technology in order to secure its election systems and guarantee fair elections. Seems like a strange thing to do if Putin really was the tyrannical dictator that the west makes him out to be. How ironic that while the USA is mired in election tampering (this is only one of hundreds of articles showing voter fraud and election tampering which is so very prevalent all across America,) as well as a sideshow to implicate Russia for it, the Russians are becoming the paragon for democratic processes.
Read more about it here.

The revolution has begun.




Although many different coins, technologies, applications, and people were mentioned by name in this article, I do not specifically endorse any in particular. This article should not be taken as investment advice. The reader is encouraged to do their own research on this and on any topic.

Contact the author at philwhite – protonmail – ch
Thank you for your time and attention to this crucially important matter.

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Fight Of The Century

Well, if that wasn’t the fucking fight of the century, I don’t know what it could possibly have been.
Hats off to Floyd Mayweather, he got his 50. One for every state in the union. He said that that would be his last fight… we’ll see. And hats off to McGregor, a tenth-round TKO against the best deserves praise, especially for a noob. (I think it was stopped too early, but I don’t think it changed the outcome.)
What a mindfuck, though. Floyd came out like McGregor, and Conor came out like Mayweather. Bizarro meets boxing. It was epic!

Conor wanted the short fight, and he tired himself out like he had done in the past. Mayweather wanted to stretch it beyond 25 minutes, and he did… beautifully. Once again, strategy won out.

There is no denying that both fought like the true warriors they are. Boxing retained its glory and MMA gained some respect. Both won, in a way.

Despite the marketing and the trash talk leading up to the event, both acted like true sportsmen and gentlemen in their respective post-fight comments. They each gave credit where it was due, and they both spoke honestly about what had just transpired.

I salute both men for their performance and for their decorum… which is more than I can say about the crowd where I witnessed the historic event. A fight broke out. The tension was high. Unlike the fight, it ended quickly, thankfully.

Boxing is safe and MMA has attained a new level; win – win. (And they both made many many millions of dollars.)

What comes next for either sport? Expansion, reputation, credulity, popularity…? I can’t wait to see. All I can say is kudos gents, that was a helluva show.

 

 

A Tiger By The Tail

The world, in its current state, is not sustainable. No reasonable person would argue that it is. This does not refer to population; there is more than enough land and food for all. Besides, populations tend to self-adjust based upon available resources. In other words, there is no need for a cull. Equity is the problem. Capitalism, in its current form, which has been adopted by nearly all the countries of the earth with a central bank (excepting North Korea, Iran, Cuba, and some small Pacific island nations – Monaco and the Vatican being exceptional cases) isn’t sustainable either. [I feel it is important to disambiguate this point further. The capitalist system which is in use today can be, and has been, referred to as crony-capitalism and/or disaster capitalism and does not reflect the tenets of pure capitalism. Adam Smith himself put the emphasis on local systems and stated that one should not take more than one’s share lest the entire system collapse. This is often left out of economic theories.] The problem then is, how do we change the system underpinning all our TBTF* sub-systems? It won’t be pretty, but it inevitably must be done. As Henry Kissinger (I am NOT a fan) famously said, “If there are things that have to be done, you should do them quickly.” Many people will undoubtedly suffer, and many of them will die. This horrid reality does not escape me. It is more than unfortunate that TPTB* have organized the world in such a way as to make this unavoidable. All we can do, as a community, is minimize this peril by helping each other make it through to the other side.

Anarchy

It’s not what you think it is. Anarchy is a state of total freedom, but not without consequence. Anarchy is not ‘natural law.’ Anarchy is quite the opposite. Anarchy allows individuals to retain their individuality. It does not mean that there are no longer any rules, or that rules do not apply. People still have to live together, after all. Anarchy simply puts the power in the hands of those affected. The concept of ‘mob-rule’ comes to mind when such things are discussed, but it need not. It can be argued that people are generally kind and compassionate and generous. We may have lost sight of this fact given our current state of economic inequity, but it remains a fact, nonetheless. How could we have survived as a species otherwise? As a social animal, community has always been the foundation of society.

Blockchain

Blockchain, very simply put, is a wholly transparent contract. It has no limits and can be applied to any human endeavour involving more than one person. Many people are intimidated by this techy-sounding phrase, but it is something, at its root, with which we are all familiar; only it is digitized, in order to make it common and accessible to all, and verifiable.

Crypto-currency

The world needs a global currency. Why should banks et al. make money from the exchange of one currency into another? Why should they have the power to create wealth and distribute it to whomever they please? Why should banks and central banks constrain human potential in order to turn a profit? What purpose do they serve anymore, anyhow? The banks (Bank of America, HSBC, et al.,) central banks (the Fed, ECB, et al.,) and uber-banks (IMF, BIS, et al.) have had all of humanity under their collective thumbs since they were conceived.

Which coin will be the standard? Will there be several as with Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi vs. Royal Crown? Will there be too many to count? As long as they are freely interchangeable, who cares, right? My personal feeling is that there will be many, but that all will be as interchangeable as good delivery gold bars from different banks, with no exchange rate. The closest comparison which can be drawn is the Linux operating system, which is open-sourced and comes in many ‘flavours’, all of which are compatible with most other versions.

De-centralization

It may just be time to bring back the city-state. Borders are illusory and they are political. Their time too, has passed. This is not a call to mass migration; on the contrary, it is an invitation for all to participate in the global economy without consideration for whence they were born, and without a need to re-locate, but without hindrance to do so, if desired. Under this new paradigm, there will be no need for entire populations to flee oppression or war. There will be no power structure to impose these conditions, and there will be no will of the people to engage in same.

Encryption

Privacy will not need any protection. Privacy has always existed. Be it through secret code, hidden retreats, occult groups, or VPN*, the dark web is nothing new. The need to protect it arises from those who would intrude, such as the state; but if people want to communicate privately, there is no reason they should not have the means to do so. Blockchain can provide this function. People don’t want to be nothing more than just a number. IBM tried that during WWII and the mental image stuck. People don’t want to be issued tattoos. On the other hand, people don’t seem to have a problem tattooing themselves. If we pick a number (or a hash) for ourselves, it becomes part of us. This is the key to being both public and private at the same time.

Freedom

We must be allowed to live our lives as we see fit. We must not be told that since we live in one particular place, we must do certain things with our time. We must not have to live our lives surveilled. It must not be assumed that we are all potential criminals. In order to acquire the freedom to live as we choose, we must either be emancipated or we must emancipate ourselves, and we’ve been waiting long enough to be emancipated. If it hasn’t happened by now, it just isn’t going to happen. It is time to take matters into our own hands and take the bull by the horns. But what do you do when you have a tiger by the tail? If you let go, it will eat you. If you hang on, you can do nothing else. Eventually your strength will wane, and a lot faster than the tiger’s. So what option is available? The only option left is to kick that fucking tiger in the balls so hard and so often that he will want to get as far away from you as fast as possible, instead of making you his meal. This is what we must do to the control structures, and the people who run them, set up to dominate our lives. We must make the job of ruling over us so disagreeable that none would want to have it. This is the nature of anarchy and the birth of freedom. Free to work in our chosen domain, free to raise our children and educate them with our values, free to do what we choose to do with our bodies and with our lives; these should not just be catchy clichés, they should be steps along the path to autonomy. We are adults, after all; it is time we started treating ourselves as such and acting like adults should act.

Globalism

Some of the tenets of globalism are noble and commendable, but the current crop of globalists are not the sort of people you would want in charge. The problem with it is that, under the current plan, the goals of globalism are to be implemented by force or by coercion. This cannot be acceptable. Certainly there should be a common currency. Certainly there should be more co-operation and less competition. Certainly there should be acceptance of individual beliefs and cultural differences. Certainly equality should reign; but not in the two-tiered Orwellian (or Clintonian) sense. Some should not be allowed to be more equal than others. Being ruled is so middle ages.

Hegemony

Hegemony will, for the first time, be organic and not imposed. Hegemony will no longer mean that an entity controls the whole, it will mean that the whole is one, and that ‘control’ is obsolete. The entirety of Earth’s population will have control over their own lives and society will necessarily move in a positive direction. The word ‘progress’ will finally have meaning as it will apply to the betterment of all mankind, not just a select few.

Internet

The internet, perhaps the greatest human development of all time, has made blockchain technology possible and relevant. The world-wide web is the ether through which all human interaction can take place, irrespective of time or location. It is anything to anyone at any time. It facilitates communication and has done more to shrink the size of the world than planes, trains, or automobiles combined. Without communication, co-operation is not possible. The internet is, to paraphrase Aristotle, the means by which the whole of humanity truly can be greater than the sum of its individual parts.

Joy

What other goal can be more noble, than to wish that all sentient organisms everywhere can experience eternal joy, in any form that it should take? Lasting joy is the best possible outcome.

Kin

Family is the nucleation point of society. Family is the seed. We must come to realize that ‘family’ and ‘community’ and ‘society’ and ‘civilization’ are all synonymous. We are all born of the same family, extended or not. We are all kin. If we learn to treat each other as such, only then will we be able to hope to treat any others we might meet along the way as equals, and learn from each other, and share with each other all the joys that make living a worthwhile endeavour for us all. If there are others out there, we are already family as we share the greatest commonality known: life itself.

Longevity

One of the only two reasonable goals of humanity (progress is meaningless without set goals,) longevity or immortality will be the one thing which makes patience into the true virtue it really should be. When time itself is not a factor in human decision-making, only then will the unattainable be within our grasp. Time is the ultimate constraint. Short-term realizations at the expense of long-term benefits will be a thing of the past. Risks will no longer need to be taken if all the time in the universe is at our disposal. Investigations into the mysteries of life will be complete. Succinctness will no longer trump truth.

Maturity

Maturity is the other of the only two reasonable goals of humanity. It is only when we reach maturity can our exploration of exoplanetary endeavours be justified. If we are the first in the universe to reach such a level, we should be beyond reproach as far as standards of morality toward all life forms are concerned. If we are not, we should be at a level beyond pettiness, such that we can engage with more advanced civilizations and share with them as we would share amongst ourselves. If we are to be the seed of intelligent life in the cosmos, we should then put forth the very best we have to offer.

Reset

It is coming, one way or another. It is very near, and people can feel it. There will be a transition, and it will be rough. Many will not survive it. The consequences of a reset would be, for the short term, disastrous. We should not kid ourselves. The JIT* delivery system would make a great many of us vulnerable to starvation, as most of us are nine meals from an empty pantry. Certainly, all the systems we rely upon to deliver and provide medicine, water, payments etc. could not and would not withstand the rapid transition to an anarchic state.

Ownership as a concept would have to be revisited. Essential factories would need to be owned and operated by the workers, as would water treatment plants, farms, hospitals, etc. There would be massive disturbances in all forms of manufacturing, processing, distribution, and not least of all, social services. Payments would be suspended, and the nature of salaries as compensation for work and their incremental nature would also need to be re-thought.

Robotics could be an enormous benefit, not a job-killer as it is perceived today. Robots could free all humans from meaningless work in order to pursue higher goals, spend more time with our children, help the community, or just sit under a tree. Automation of all the necessary goods and services is nothing to fear if we are all equal. There will always be jobs to do, but with so many people available to do them, nobody will mind doing an hour or two of work every month.

Education would benefit, as well. Instead of being forced to regurgitate mantra which benefits private industry, the field of education could be opened up to alternatives not currently discussed. Universities will morph into discussion groups and the PhDs will simply be those whose ideas are accepted. Paper credentials will become meaningless. Credentials will come with proofs.

Will there not be groups who will try to dominate? Yes, but their power will be limited as their small group can never gain an advantage over the rest. There will be no means by which a small group can come to dominate a larger one. Why shouldn’t those who hold even the most extreme views not be allowed to share them within their community? Segregation is generally seen as a bad thing. Self-segregation, on the other hand happens all over the world. From a motorcycle gang to a China-town to a support group, if those birds choose to flock together, whose to stop them? As long as there is no territory to fight over, all ideologies, while not necessarily being welcome, could be readily tolerated.

There will be a crash. When is not known, but soon is an apt estimate. The global economy is running on fumes, despite what the stock-pushing MSM is saying. The inevitability is such that preparations must be made. Stocking up on non-perishable foods is one thing, but preparing to abandon an over-arching system of control is just as important, perhaps more-so. Why should we allow TPTB* the time to get their shit together, as it were. Humanity will not wait for them to re-fasten the shackles they have burdened us with. It will move forward without them. We no longer need them. Their guidance was necessary in the times of rampant illiteracy, but is now irrelevant. We can do these things for ourselves. Good riddance.

Does this vision of the New World Dis-Order seem utopic? Does it look out of reach. Under the current system, it does. Fast-forward ten or twenty years, add blockchain to the mix, bring down all the overt control systems, and all the limitations on our species could easily be lifted. It will come at a price, but the alternative is a possible ELE*.

*Glossary:

  • ELE – Extinction Level Event
  • JIT – Just In Time
  • TBTF – Too Big To Fail
  • TPTB – The Powers That Be
  • SHTF – (when the) Shit Hits The Fan
  • VPN – Virtual Private Network

Recommended Resources:

 

 

 

Trashy Talk

August 26th, 2017 will, for boxing fans, be a memorable day. That will be the day on which Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather fights Conor ‘Notorious’ McGregor, not for any title, nor for fame (they are each already quite famous,) but perhaps for ego, and for a paycheck which could increase the standard of living for all the citizens in a small developing nation.

The press conferences (read: promotional events) leading up to the upcoming fight have, so far, been ‘over the top’. Boasting, disrespectful comments, name-calling, swearing, insults, death threats… it really has played out, as so many other similar events do, like a childish playground pissing contest, as it were. In everyday life, an insult leading to a physical confrontation is grounds for litigation, so why do it? It is as if they needed a reason to fight, besides the huge payday.

The public is being led to believe, in the interest of showmanship, that these two combatants are really angry with each other and hate each other deeply. The fans are not stupid; they have probably witnessed many other such contests after which the two boxers congratulate each other, speak graciously, and give each other the credit to which they are both rightly due. Whether or not there is genuine animosity between the two ‘men’ (which I doubt,)  There must be another reason given for them to engage in the brutality which is sure to ensue. That reason, you guessed it, is ‘the cheddar’.

Boxing has become an enormous moneymaker, not just for the fighters, but for the promoters, the venue owners, the Pay-Per-View affiliates, the merchandisers, and on and on… but wouldn’t the revenue generated be the same whether or not the fighters insulted each other? Wouldn’t everyone involved stand to gain the same amount if events such as these did not degenerate into dramatic soap operas and shouting matches? This point is debatable, but doubtful. Conflict breeds interest.

It can be argued that this sort of behaviour serves to prime, not only the fans, but the participants themselves. Is there an advantage in tricking yourself into believing that you really do hate your opponent, and that your anger towards him will give you an edge? Ironically, most martial artists would disagree. What is required in combat is a steely nerve and focus, both of which become blurred when under the influence of emotion and/or personal gain. There is a job to be done, and emotions introduce other influences which tend to distract from it. If you are thinking about your hurt feelings, then you are not concentrated on the task at hand. It is said that, in feudal Japan, for example, the best way to avoid a fight with a samurai was to anger him, for rage represents a loss of control just when control is what is most crucially needed.

This sort of behaviour certainly does not set a good example for the youth watching, and does nothing to promote good sportsmanship, despite the fact that they will invariably ‘hug it out’ afterwards. It is actually quite hypocritical, so why do it in the first place?

What it does is set the tone for all the attention an event of this magnitude needs in order to generate the profits desired by all involved. It’s all about the hype. Hype equals attention, and attention generates revenue. It’s as simple as that.

Vasy Lomachenko reacts to Conor McGregor… (Lomachenko won the WBO featherweight title in his third professional fight.)

(02:31)

But what does this say about our society, that we must be whipped into a frenzy before we can enjoy a technical contest between two superbly well-trained athletes? Is it not enough that they are competing for a nine-figure payout? Why does anger have to enter into it at all? The Olympics do not need it, and reflect an opposite position, and those games are unquestionably the largest and most popular sporting event on the planet. If Olympic athletes behaved in this way, they would surely be sanctioned, and might even be banned.

What is it about us and our need to suspend our own disbelief in these cases? Is it an outlet, a proxy for our own frustrations? Is it a way for us to expel our pent-up rage through others? Is this, and events like it, what keeps us from exhibiting our anger towards those who do us wrong in our everyday lives? Is there an innate need for violence in the human psyche? If so, it may be a necessary evil, and a good thing.

Any way one looks at it, it’s bound to be a helluva fight.

*EDIT*
A post-fight update to this story is available here.

Primitive, Advanced, Or Both?

Have you ever been baffled by something only to then, when putting some thought into it, come to a sudden realization? Call it an epiphany, but such was my case with ‘Incan’ architecture. I had always been puzzled by the perfect fittings and how they might have been achieved. They say you can’t fit a piece of paper into the seams. It was only when I actually set my mind to re-creating them that it dawned on me.

The photograph below is what did it. It was the joints that got my attention, and their curved faces. If you can figure out how to make the curves fit, the rest is just stacking, after all. I had always been under the impression that all the faces were flat. The curves made it much harder to do, or so I thought, but therein lay the secret. That which seemed to make it impossible was key to discovering the elegant simplicity in the method.

1881

As it turns out, to build such a structure, one does not even need any tools. Using tools would be considered doing things the ‘easy way’. But the ‘easy way’ isn’t always the easiest way.

1 Kings 6:7
For the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready at the quarry; and there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building. (JPS)

Exodus 20:22
And if thou make Me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stones; for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast profaned it. (JPS) (Exodus 20:25 in many English translations)

Now, I’m not a big fan of the bible, nevertheless, it was an interesting discovery to think that stones could be fashioned without tools, and that ancient man had, apparently, also figured this out.

When one has no metal tools, one figures out ways to do things without them. When one has metal tools, their use becomes ubiquitous and is then considered the only way. Most times, new technology replaces old technology and leaves no trace of ancient methods behind. Efficiency is usually gained in the exchange, but not always, at least, not for certain tasks.

I think the reason that this technique has not been considered is that when looking at a wall, we tend to look at it as a two-dimensional surface, and we forget it has depth (not to mention our modern, cultural, and architectural biases.)

It occurred to me, while looking at the patterns in the stonework, that the octagonal stone near the middle of the image could simply be pulled out from its setting and the wall would still stand. I slid it out in my mind, and slid it back into place. That’s when I saw it.

If one were to rub two round stones together, eventually they would each develop a flat face which would then be perfectly mated to its neighbour. If those stones had similar flat sides to begin with, the process would be that much easier and quicker. If such a flat side were not perfectly flat, rather, showed some concavity, rubbing the convex face of another stone against it would produce a curved joint. (Rubbing side-to-side and perpendicular to the long axis of the wall.)

[Incidentally, the only way to make a perfectly flat surface, in those days, would have been to rub two stones in the manner described. Having done this, a straight edge could then be formed by rubbing a piece of wood against a flat rock. I cannot think of any other way for primitive man to fashion a perfectly flat surface, or a perfectly straight edge. As it turns out, straight lines were a natural rarity until we, as Douglas Adams once wrote, learnt to bang the rocks together.]

So there it is. The process would be simple enough. Partly bury two stones with mated faces next to each other, and find a third stone which would roughly fit the space between the protruding tops of those buried stones. Rub it sideways until it fit perfectly, wipe away the grit between them, and repeat the process, stacking the stones as you go. It would not matter if there was overlap or if the stones were of unequal size. Incidentally, the grit would act as both an abrasive and a lubricant making it easier to rub the stones against each other.

I think that building a stone wall in this way would take much less time and energy than was previously thought. Wouldn’t it be something if it could be shown that Puma Punku was built in under a year, and by a small crew? Stones could be roughly hewn or not. Perhaps the stones were just found by the wayside without need of quarrying at all.

There are several megalithic sites around which no tools have been found. Could simple techniques such as these be the reason?

I have approached several universities and researchers with this project, but to my surprise, none have taken an interest. Are there any adventurous folks out there who want to build a wall with me this summer? Let me know on the ‘Drawing Board’ page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Facades

When walking past a house after dark, it’s always the big windows that are lit. Is this diversion or hubris? Governments display these same traits.

What’s unseen… what’s underground? What’s behind the facade, the empty room, the well-lit space?

designboom_tezuka_architects_interview_005

More to come.

Nebra Sky Disk: Made In Asia, Embellished In Wales?

The Nebra sky disk was found in Germany, near Nebra, and ever since, European scholars have used it to advance the notion of Euro-centric superiority. It has been dated to the mid-late Bronze Age, at approximately 1600 BC. The claim is that it was made in Germany.

The Nebra sky disk features the oldest concrete depiction of the cosmos worldwide. In June 2013 it was included in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register and termed “one of the most important archaeological finds of the twentieth century.””

The only problem with this theory is that the disk was probably made in Asia and altered not such a long time ago, in Wales. (This is only my surmise, for the moment; you will see why, below.)

From Wikipedia (emphasis mine):

  • At some later date, two arcs (constructed from gold of a different origin, as shown by its chemical impurities) were added at opposite edges of the disk. To make space for these arcs, one small circle was moved from the left side toward the center of the disk and two of the circles on the right were covered over, so that thirty remain visible. The two arcs span an angle of 82°, correctly indicating the angle between the positions of sunset at summer and winter solstice at the latitude of the Mittelberg (51°N).

  • The final addition was another arc at the bottom, the “sun boat“, again made of gold from a different origin.

The only ‘proof’ of the disk’s European provenance are the gold bands of eighty-two degrees which were added at a later date. How much later is uncertain. I think it was much much later, probably just after it was discovered. In fact, two of the ‘stars’ were even moved to accommodate the gold bands, so how can it be claimed that the knowledge conveyed by them dates to 1600 BC? We have fraud on three levels: provenance; age; forgery.

*UPDATE*

However, an analysis conducted more recently discovered that the gold used was from the United Kingdom – from the river Carnon in Cornwall.

Too bad you can’t date gold.

Jesus’ uncle dealt in tin and traded with the those who inhabited what is now England.

The tin content of the bronze in the disk was also from Cornwall.

How co-incidentally convenient. That’s why they would have it embellished in Wales, just outside (but not really) English jurisdiction.

[Keep your eye on photo4.]


In this video (6:03) [part three of a series of three short films] professor Green displays a mosaic of photos of the disk on her restoration laboratory wall. In these photos, the curved gold object at the bottom of the disk (said to be a solar barge or boat) is both there, and isn’t.

This is the mosaic she assembled with photographs she claims she had nothing to do with creating. Notice how photo 5 is offset to the right.

Nebra_disc2

I superimposed photo 5 onto photo 4 at 50% opacity which is what can be seen in the yellow circle below – “The boat should be here.”

Nebra_disc

When confronted with these images, professor Green had this to say, “But half the boat is visible on the bottom left picture, exactly where it should be. i may be missing your point but I don’t see the problem.[sic]

There was clearly nothing in the bottom-left photo. Of course, this is up to one’s interpretation of the meaning of the word ‘left.’ Whereas I meant left as it is viewed – ‘house left’, she may have meant left as in ‘stage left.’ It seems to me that when one is attaching pictures to the wall, the one on the left is self-evident. In all fairness, and given the number of lectures she has probably given, it is entirely possible that this is the whence from which the confusion sprang:

stage_diagram(1)

Now, to her credit, professor Miranda Aldhouse-Green is a very reputable scientist, archaeologist, and religious historian. She is professor emeritus and has written a great number of books. She is perhaps best known for her work on the peat bog mummies. I, in no way intended to offend her, defame her, or accuse her of any untoward behaviour. Her reputation is unassailable, after all. I simply wanted to know why her fingerprints were on photos of an obviously trafficked historical artefact posted on the wall of her own restoration laboratory, why she did not notice the obvious anomaly (none of the thousands who viewed these videos on YouTube ever noticed it before I did either, I might add,) and if she had any part to play in the trafficking of said object. Unfortunately, after a brief email exchange with me, she thought my questions too aggressive, was resentful of my implications, and did not, “wish to get into this.” She claims not to remember much about it at all, it having happened so long ago, that she had no part in the imaging of the disk, and that she was merely there to offer commentary about the meaning of the disk.

This is odd considering the disk is considered to be one of the most significant discoveries of the 20th century, but if you’ve seen one, I suppose you’ve seen them all, or so the saying goes. She has asked me not to contact her again. Given her status and her reputation, I will, of course, honour that request. I meant no offense and was simply seeking answers to my numerous and decidedly direct questions. On the other hand, it seems to me that when one is presented with five images of a thing and a large enough table, the first thing one does is to put them together like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, in which case the anomaly would have been obvious to anyone, let alone an expert such as herself, as it had been to me after having only seen the video images for a few seconds. Nevertheless, I suppose this one slipped by the expert.

[I am in no way ‘out to get’ Dr. Green, which is why I gave her a chance to respond – which she seriously blew. I will continue to give her the benefit of the doubt; that is, until she admits her complicity or her incompetence in this whole sordid affair.]

Perhaps she had a restricted time budget. Those documentary film shooting schedules can be very tight, no seriously, and she is probably a very busy woman. It is more than just plausible (deniability.) [Please forgive me the sarcasm. It is one of the few joys of writing.] In all seriousness however, if she had been given just five minutes to shoot the clip, and she had already done her research about the disk ahead of time, she may not have noticed the anomalies. Fair enough. Then again, she did offset photo 5 by a considerable amount in order to isolate the boat for the sake of commentary (she did it quite deliberately,) and had she not done so, this article would have been far less interesting, admittedly. But having said that, why put up photo4 first, as it contained no information besides the information contained in its lack thereof? Are you still following this? Mysteries abound. Onward.

If there is any doubt as to the photographic evidence presented above, this is a découpé  of the images on the video, taken at different times.

3c

… I ask you, where is the boat? Even the sun is missing from photo 4. (photo 4 is the one on the bottom left, house left, to be precise.)

The only conclusion one can come to is that the photos show the disk in different stages of manufacture. In case you are wondering about photo-manipulation, the patina under the spots where both the boat and sun should be does not show any repeating pattern similar to anywhere else on the disk, as far as I can tell.

This is not to say that Heinrich Wunderlich, the man who authenticated the corrosion on the bronze parts of the disk (see video #1) was incorrect. The disk could very well be authentic and his estimate of the age of the bronze could very well be accurate. As far as I know, he only analyzed the bronze portion of the disk since oxidation does not occur on gold. Remember that the gold leaf depicting the three arcs was definitively added afterwards, and perhaps more. Perhaps, indeed, all of it was.

What about the holes punched around the outside of the disk? What is their purpose? This disk, it would seem to me, was probably an adornment originally made as a breastplate. Adding some of the gold leaf in order to further the story of Euro-centric knowledge of the stars would not have been difficult, especially for someone with a lab full of specialized restoration equipment, as exists in Cardiff. Did I mention that professor Green was from the University of Cardiff in Wales?

The Saracens, Indians, Persians, Ottomans, and even Genghis Khan all wore similar breastplates. These designs were not typical of European armour. This would explain the holes punched around the circumference of the disk which could serve as attachment points to the rest of the armour. [n.b. Note the top-left image below. On that particular breastplate, there seems to be a band along the bottom which is very similar to the bands on either side of the Nebra disk. It could have been made with leather, as is shown in this example, or with a separate piece of metal. It may have served as either a re-enforcement or in order to limit wear on the ‘stitches.’ Maybe it was simply decorative. In any case, it looks pretty darn close to 82°. This particular armour suit is, ironically, housed in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Wien, Austria. [Not Germany, but close enough.] How have all the experts missed this simple fact? It is simply supposition on my part; nevertheless, it should be retained as a possibility.

The Nebra disk is not as ornate as these examples, but perhaps it was not destined to adorn a general, either.

The crescent was well used in the iconography of the Ancient Near East and was used transplanted by the Phoenicians in the 8th century BC as far as Carthage in modern Tunisia. The crescent and star also appears on pre-Islamic coins of South Arabia.

The combination of star and crescent also arises in the Ancient Near East, representing the Moon and Ishtar (the planet Venus), often combined into a triad with the solar disk. It was inherited both in Sassanian and Hellenistic iconography.

(Keep in mind that the sun symbol on the disk seems to have been added later. It may originally just have been a star and crescent design, if anything at all.) Triads can be depicted with five, six, or eight-pointed stars, and sometimes even more.

header-start_oben

An obvious triad combining the sun, the moon, and one star – not seven stars. See below. Why this is assumed to be the Pleiades is beyond me. In 1600 BC, with no light pollution or smog, I would think that more than seven of the stars in that constellation would have been visible. Galileo noted a total of thirty-six. The cluster actually contains over one thousand stars, fourteen of which can be seen with the naked eye. Interestingly, the cultures of Japan and India (amongst others) associate the Pleiades with the number six.

Coin_of_Phraates_V_of_Parthia

Above is a Parthian (Iranian) coin from the first century BC Note the moon and star motif. (The star depicted on the coin above appears to be six-pointed with a bar connecting the star to the moon, as is often the case. It looks a lot like our Pleiadean group, does it not?)

Could the disk have originally belonged to an Asian invader? Did the Huns bring it to Europe as some sort of inspirational and motivational artefact in their attempt to overrun ancient Germany? Did it arrive much earlier as an object for barter or an adornment for clothing? If some of the elements on the disk are authentic, are they of Asian origin or design? The 51st parallel runs right through Inner Mongolia, after all. The Asian astronomical tradition is ancient and well-reputed, and trade routes from the Indus Valley, Mongolia, and all over the near-east to the Mediterranean are well-established, once camels had been domesticated in the early to mid Bronze Age.

Metallurgical_diffusion

“On 20 June 2007 a multimedia visitor center was opened near the discovery site at Nebra.” This center obviously cost a great deal of money to build, and tourists pay a fee to visit.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

However, the disk is part of the permanent exhibition in the Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte (State Museum of Prehistory) in Halle. The museum states that the disk is an object from the early Bronze Age. Even in the technologically late-blooming Europe, 1600 BC must be considered mid-late Bronze age. The Bronze Age started much sooner in the east, after all.

If there has been a forgery of the disk, it has cost the people of Germany, the tourists to Germany, and the people of Asia, where it belongs, quite a lot of money. The people have a right to know whether this object is authentic or not, and an investigation into this matter should begin immediately. There must have been many people involved in this scheme.

So, an Asian artefact, found in Europe seems to have been dressed up to look like it was local, and the myth of European supremacy lives on. The people of Europe, and the rest of the world for that matter, may have been duped. Asian knowledge has, as it would seem, once again been appropriated by the west for nothing more than bragging rights.

Benji’s Plight

In 1971, the French sent a gunboat to New York harbour to get their gold back because the USA was over-extending itself as per the Bretton-Woods agreement. It was President Nixon who was not playing by the rules. In this example, it was the Vietnam war which was being funded but without enough gold to back the expenditures. The US was inflating its own currency. Since the Franc was pegged to the dollar and the dollar was pegged to the gold that America held, there wasn’t enough gold to maintain the value of the French currency. This is why the French acted. This was essentially the beginning of what we now know as central bank money, or modern fiat money.

Why mention all this? Well it seems to me that the Chinese are de-evolving in monetary terms, going back to a Bretton-Woods type system in order that they can play the role that the US played but with their allies, instead. For that to happen, they need to back their currency with gold, and so they will need as much as they can get. Russia has also spoken about a gold-backed ruble.

Gaddafi was in the process of creating a gold-backed pan-African currency, but Libya did not have the clout to withstand the American onslaught, and we all know what happened after that. China does.

If we exclude QEII, the largest land-owners in the world are Russia, China, the King of Saud, the King of Thailand, the King of Morocco, and the King of Oman. All of these countries have large Muslim populations; even Russia is about 15% Muslim. All of them have been involved with some form of gold-backed currency, or are currently talking about implementing one. China is going to do it for them, and unite Asia in the process.

This is why Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev said, at the UN, that the IMF must go and that the world reserve currency should no longer be dollars. He also said that the UN should be based in Asia. Kazakhstan is hugely rich in natural resources (oil, gold, uranium…) He gave this speech on the same day as Obama and Putin spoke, but nobody was listening.

This, in my opinion, is what we are seeing in China now. They are slowly trying to shed dollars without causing too much commotion. If they do it too quickly, they would lose a great deal of value in the process. Eventually, though, the dollar will be dumped. China did just get into the IMF’s basket, for credibility and support if nothing else, but this may be short-lived and not for the reasons most would think.

With Turkey looking east, they could collectively control all the oil and gas flowing into Europe (Turkish Stream pipeline,) and most of the water flowing into the middle-east. The east would have Europe by the short-and-curlies.

This is also why they want to ‘easternize’ Europe with a large influx of migrants. Terror is a serious issue for all these actors, not just an excuse for expansion like it is for America. Russia has an outpost called Ingushetia to guard against Chechen fighters. Even China has terror at its back door.

Energy-poor Europe really has no choice in the matter and America is powerless to stop it. This is what made Ukraine such a target. Russia is diverting all pipelines into Europe through Turkey instead of Ukraine, making the entire exercise there moot. This is what makes the middle-east, the Spratley Islands in the South China Sea, North Korea, and Lithuania so important to the west. This is why the west (and NATO) is trying to encircle Russia and break up Eurasia, but what’s the expression again…? A day late and a dollar short (pun definitely intended.)

One could draw a line from Beijing to Moscow and cross only one country, Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan may be where the new Prime Meridian passes, where the new UN headquarters might be located, and is where the world’s monopoly of low-enriched uranium (LEU) is kept. Buffett knows it, too. Kazakhstan is land-locked and so is very easy to defend.

It’s over.

China is starting to unwind, all of Eurasia will be dumping the dollar very soon (?this summer/fall?) the petro-dollar’s days are numbered (Saud has been in negotiations with Russia for years now over this very issue) and if America doesn’t wake up to this incontrovertible fact, war will be the only option. If the USA and NATO and the EU start making preparations now, perhaps there could be a way to draw this out nicely enough not to have to crash the western economy. They could also all be working behind the scenes together, east and west, knowing that the inevitable is coming. Hey, ya’ never know.

As it happens, last year, American private equity fund KKR bought Mexico’s Pemex Oil. They have secured rights to drill in the Gulf of Mexico, and now they are moving even further south. Venezuela seems to be the next target now that the Americans know they have lost the middle-east, and will soon have to leave.

“Seventy percent of Petropiar is owned by the state-run Petróleos de Venezuela, and 30% by its overseas partner, Chevron. The government has now offered to sell a portion of its shares to the Russian Rosneft, along with a stake in the rights to extract oil from the premium-grade Orinoco Oil Belt. This, of course, is no less than a stab in the back for Chevron. (Rosneft faces sanctions from the US, which, of course, Chevron does not.)

Venezuela has also expropriated shares belonging to ConocoPhillips, for which it has not yet paid, at the same time as they’re negotiating with a Japanese investment bank to obtain further funding.”

These deals, in the American perspective, are worth protecting and fighting over especially if Russia’s Rosneft gets control of some of the oil in the Americas.

“The involvement of the U.S. military in an upcoming multilateral military drill in South America has raised concerns over potential ulterior motives on the part of the U.S.

 

The drill, dubbed “Operation: America United,” will involve the installation of a temporary military base on the triple border shared by the drill’s other participating nations: Peru, Brazil and Colombia.

Clearly, the Americans know that their time under the petro-dollar scheme is winding down, and they are desperately seeking alternative sources of oil. Now that Erdogan has refused the EU membership and is looking east, even the Germans are moving their troops from Incirlik to Jordan. They too must sense that something is changing within NATO and in the middle-east.

All this talk of populism vs. globalism (I was caught up in it, too) is like so many squirrels scurrying to hide their nutz. This is also why we needed the king of all squirrels, Donald Trump, to completely dominate our lives. After two years of him dominating the main-stream media scene, much of the groundwork has been done quietly, and in the shadows.

A Singular Problem

The singularity is the moment in time when artificial intelligence (AI) will surpass humans’ ability to think. Many think it is dangerous, but not for the right reasons, IMHO. They envision killer robots. That would not even be necessary.

AI will have an owner. One person, or a small group of investors who, the nanosecond it is completed (especially if paired with a quantum computer – they already exist,) will instantly control all financial markets, all networked military hardware, the internet, the grid – both electric and nuclear, the media, all social networks, and everything else.

Do you honestly think they will allow the rest of us to survive, or will they take the world for themselves, once and for all? That’s what they mean by ‘singularity’. One rich guy (and his family, his harem, and his eunuch mechanics.)

There can be no counter for ‘Skynet’. The first one across the line, wins the world.

If we’re gonna’ have a war over this issue, let’s have it now before any of that happens. Afterwards, it will be too late. Even the winners of the war would be put to death. Kurzweil says it will happen by 2029-45, and Google (Alphabet) is working feverishly towards that goal. Chomsky sees no reason for concern.

See Ben Goertzel in a documentary on the subject called “Singularity or Bust”. Everybody working on this tech seems to agree, billions will die, but no matter, “if we can build it, we must build it.” Psychopaths all, and dupes who think that they will be allowed to survive even though humans will have “nothing to contribute” after the singularity arrives. Goertzel even says in the film that the first words spoken by the AI will be, “F**k you.” Not funny Ben, prophetic, but not funny.

How many people think that going back in time to kill Hitler would be a good idea? These guys make Hitler look like a Boy Scout.

__________

“Men loven of proper kynde newefangelnesse.” -Chaucer
the distraction

“The consideration of this, has made me think them too severe, both to themselves, and others, that maintain, that the First motions of the mind, (though checked with the fear of God) be Sinnes. But I confesse it is safer to erre on that hand, than on the other.” -Hobbes
the fear

“Pause you who read this, and think of a long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of that first link on one memorable day.” -Dickens
the potential

“Absolutely speaking, the more money, the less virtue; for money comes between a man and his objects, and obtains them for him; it was certainly no great virtue to obtain it.” -Thoreau
the acquisition

“Men who look upon themselves born to reign, and others to obey, soon grow insolent; selected from the rest of mankind their minds are early poisoned by importance; and the world they act in differs so materially from the world at large, that they have but little opportunity of knowing its true interests, and when they succeed to the government [throne] are frequently the most ignorant and unfit of any throughout the dominions.” -Paine
the problem

“Power does not corrupt men; fools, however, if they get into a position of power, corrupt power.” -Shaw
the outcome

Say It Ain’t So

Is there anyone left who can start a sentence with a word other than, “So”?

This article will be used as an example. Many more can be found.

Sixty-eight (68) sentences in the interview transcript included the word “so” in the first two words of that sentence. (“So”, “Yeah so”, and “And so”. “Also” was not counted.)

A few run-on sentences could also have been counted where the second sentence should have started, but weren’t.

Is this level of literacy acceptable coming from a professor of communications (she did it much more often than he did, although she is just an associate professor) and a journalist? (Scientists are especially vulnerable to this affliction, but they are not expected to have studied language.)

Should someone with this level of expertise (in her own field) be allowed to coin phrases which are then used as industry standards?

Another indicator of poor language skills is the use of the word “that” in place of the word “who,” as in, “The man THAT did the thing…” but this is so rampant as to be considered normal.

These are only the tip of the iceberg as far as poor language skills in the media go, but they serve as good examples. I am not alone in noticing this trend.

This from a research fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute. “I have noticed that in my most recent focus groups I use the word ‘so’ rather excessively. Many of my sentences start with “So, …”, and the word also appears somewhat randomly in the middle of a sentence. Analysing the transcripts, this really gets on my nerves.

From Dictionary.com: “…the sentence-initial so is a way for the speaker to subtly cue to the listener that the following information is relevant to the listener’s interests.

Is this being used to manage or lead conversations, or is it just plain bad English? Either way, it’s annoying.

Semi-literate individuals should not be making (so much) money from their use of language. Like the semi-literate Jake Tapper who thinks ‘Mexican’ is a race… the dictionary definition of the term, in fact.

The dumbing-down of people and Orwellian double-speak both have their roots in this problem. The next step is changing or conflating the meaning of words, examples of which are so common that they need not be mentioned here.

Earth Hour – Whatevs

On March 25th, everyone was encouraged to turn off the lights for Earth Hour.

We were told that we were doing the earth a favour. Turn off those bad electric lights, and light a candle to inspire others to do the same next year.

What a crock.

We were told to replace highly efficient and super clean hydro-generated electricity with sooty candles. Now, not all the countries in the world are as fortunate as we are (here in Canada) to have access to hydro-electric power, but even a gas-powered lawnmower engine is more efficient than an open flame burning a cotton wick. Cotton is made of carbon, after all, and burning it… well, you can guess the rest.

I’m not saying that carbon is bad for the planet – a better word might be ‘essential’ – but even if carbon were the GHG global-warming environment-killing enemy we are being told it is, should burning more of it be a symbol of our collective will to reduce its abundance in our atmosphere?

No wonder less and less people are paying attention to this mass-shaming claptrap.

“Fewer Torontonians shut off the lights for Earth Hour this year, Toronto Hydro reveals, but the city did see a 2.8 per cent drop in electricity demand.”

When people don’t even understand the very basic principles which underpin their most vehement beliefs, it’s probably time to pack it in. Carbon taxes, indeed. Sheesh!

 

Brains or Thumbs?

This article is not about texting.

Most anthropologists agree, at least, this is my understanding of that which I learned in school, that despite weak defenses, humans evolved to dominate the world because of big brains; more sophisticated might be a better term, or it might not.

Many animals have bigger brains than we.

It has been shown that animals are capable of language and that their math skills are far superior to ours. Dolphins and gorillas especially, but who knows how many animals can outwit us? IQ tests are said to be unfair because it is difficult to design them without some cultural bias. How different, then, must an animal’s IQ environment be? Street-smarts over book-smarts, one might say. Who’s to say how many species are more cleverer than us?

The problem, perhaps, isn’t one of intelligence but simply communication.

Some would say that the reason we took over was our thumbs (opposable digits.) Thumbs allowed for tool-making which quickly devolved into an arms-race that goes on to this day.

But, other animals have thumbs, too. So, why not them? Maybe they know love.

Maybe they had the good sense to know that ‘less is more.’ They traveled light. They had the power to defend themselves, but they lacked the desire to dominate, to take everything over. They saw that growth (1 of 8 – 09:17) would only lead to their eventual demise. They had the courage to face the world and its dangers, to do things the hard way, without seeking to insulate themselves more and more from the hardships which make life interesting. Are they foolish or wise? Asian cultures consider that animals kept in captivity are ultimately happy, like they won the lottery of life. The western view differs, thinking it cruel to deprive animals of their freedom (to face danger,) although western culture, strangely enough, reflects this way of thinking by isolating itself from the ‘dangerous’ natural world. Is it in our very essence to imprison ourselves and to weaken ourselves to the point of total dependence? Desmond Morris thinks so.

Instead of spending hours growing food we can eat, we now spend hours growing grass which we throw away. That’s a big red flag.

So maybe there is something else which allows us to dominate, another quality which permits us to lord over all we see, to the point of writing it into our gospels. Maybe it’s a moral quality or a primal arrogance, maybe we are just so physically weak that we have become a paranoid species. “Humanity No# 1 !” Discipline through fear seems pretty natural to humans on many levels.

As Gunnery Sergeant Hartman said, “It is a hard heart that kills.” I would distinguish that it is either a hard heart, or an empty stomach. Killing everyday to eat makes one a pacifist by nature. You don’t want to have to kill during your breaks, too. Killing is hard and it’s dangerous. You only do it when absolutely necessary. Does never killing anything besides a mosquito or a spider cause a buildup of whatever it is that got us here, in the first place? Does not killing result in us not being able to control the urge to kill? Do we need to kill? That would explain a lot. Maybe it isn’t the killing we need, maybe it’s the risk of being killed. That would explain extreme sports.

Maybe it was the combination of language, technology, and hubris that got us here. Maybe it was dumb luck. I wonder what animals must think of our stewardship. After seeing an interesting episode of the CBC’s “The Nature of Things,” I thought about [when a translation device is invented] what kind of questions animals will want to ask us. I also wonder about the answers we will have for them. I also wonder if the government will be involved to put the proper ‘spin’ on the first official inter-species communication. Government, industry, the military, and religion will probably all be represented and involved.

It might be good practice for when the aliens arrive. Come to think of it, it’s probably just hubris… and it’s all down-hill from here.

Why Racism Is Like Smoking

My father smoked four packs of cigarettes per day. The first five years of my life were lived in a smoke-filled environment. I was addicted to smoking before I ever became a smoker. Now I smoke socially – very little.

Donald Sterling was raised in a racist environment. So were most of the older rich white men in the USA. Because of social pressures (and common sense,) most are now only ‘social racists’ if at all. They probably wouldn’t deny visible minorities a job in their companies, but they would probably laugh at an off-colour joke at the country club. They might think twice if their daughter were to marry a black man.

I was raised in a household and a school and a town in which racism was never an issue. I had childhood friends of all sorts, and all were welcome in our house. Racism is as foreign to me as smoking is to the vast majority of people who don’t. I’ve told jokes, socially, which could be considered beyond the pale. I’m not trying to defend the practice, but nobody who knows me would consider me a biggot on any level.

The prevailing opinion is that one is either racist or not. This duality is rather ironic. There are many shades in between. Labelling people as racists because of an off-the-cuff remark or a bad joke would be akin to saying someone is an alcoholic for simply having had a drink.

We all have biases. We might think and have all said that our country is better, our gender is better, our sports team is better, our religious beliefs are better, or our political choices are better for any number of reasons. I find it disingenuous, from a purely philosophical perspective, to label people so quickly and so decisively, especially considering the long-term effects such a moniker can now have, given the pervasiveness of social media. Sadly, our definition of people as we see them (sometimes based only upon a snapshot in time) can over-ride all the good they have done. We are actually depriving ourselves of another acquaintance with much to teach, even if they have some things to learn.

“But it’s not who you are underneath, it’s what you do that defines you.”

Rachel Dawes – from Batman Begins

I’m not saying that injustices haven’t been committed, I’m not saying that there isn’t a privelege to being a majority (from which I have undoubtedly benefitted,) and I’m not saying that denigration due to skin tone is acceptable. I simply think we should lighten up (figuratively speaking) just a little bit.

 

Don’t Believe ANYTHING You See, Hear, or Read

The “Code of Ethics” of the Society of Professional Journalists states: “Ethical journalism should be accurate and fair. Journalists should examine the ways their values and experiences may shape their reporting. Journalists should support the open and civil exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.”

In the spirit of transparency and openness, which is touted by the mainstream media, wouldn’t it be in the best interest of everyone involved for journalists (read: reporters,) when doing a political piece, to state which party or candidate they support beforehand? If a reporter has a vested interest in the outcome of an election, and does a hit piece on one of the candidates, a conflict of interest necessarily arises.

The politics of journalism are pervasive in every election cycle. Cenk Uygur, in a recent interview on CNN, said it loud and clear. He accused CNN of bias in its reporting. There is no such thing as the concept of ‘fair and balanced’ in the mainstream media anymore. There hasn’t been for a long, long time. Media outlets have long distorted their stories, fabricated the news, misrepresented facts, and tried to dumb-down the population by spoon-feeding them un-truths, half-truths, and outright lies.

There are many examples of this, even outside the realm of politics. Photos are routinely re-labeled for use in completely unrelated stories. Many articles about military actions, political demonstrations, government coups, and even environmental effects, have photos attached which were taken months or years before in different countries portraying different events, altogether. Photos attached to a story about the consequences of a Russian bombing campaign in Syria could actually have been taken from an American sortie in Iraq. Photos of a mass student rally in South America could be used to make it look like a mass uprising in the middle-east. Photomanipulation also plays a key role in some instances.

Ambiguous retractions (offered only when the evidence is publicly debunked) are often buried or said in passing, and only once. For example, after days of non-stop coverage of ‘Assad’s chemical weapons strike,’ CNN aired an interview with a man (who could hardly speak any English) refuting the claim that Assad’s forces were responsible, based on a report from Médecins Sans Frontières. The report was aired once and at 4am EST. They did not, based on this new evidence, change their tune. The MH-17 tragedy was reported on in much the same manner, neglecting to mention conflicting reports simply because John Kerry (based on no evidence) proclaimed it to be so. Most of the information about the situation in Ukraine and Russia’s ‘incursion’ into the Crimea is also suspect. Is the western news media beholden to the State Department? It would appear so.

An excellent article from Global Research with many examples on the subject can be found here.

Many examples of government lines being spun by the media in order to further a political agenda can be found. There are almost as many examples of those stories having been proved biased, mis-leading, incomplete, out of context, or just plain wrong. Stories about 9/11, terrorism, Ukraine, Russia, China, Israel, the Federal Reserve, economics, the middle-east, ISIS, the environment, refugees, prominent suicides, plane crashes, and anything involving John Kerry seem disproportionately affected.

Vocabulary is another tool which the media use to villify others and push their version of the truth. Jake Tapper recently categorized Donald Trump’s ‘attack*’ of an American judge of Mexican descent as being, “…the definition of racism.” He (Jake Tapper) specifically said that ‘Mexican’ was a race. Trump did not. Trump was also accused of ‘attacking’ Latinos and women when he commented that because of a tripling in food stamps, the governor (who is both) should do a better job. I do not support Trump, (nor do I support Clinton,) but none have had their words twisted to the extent that he has. Many bastardizations, miscategorizations, and ignorance of context and nuance are used routinely to bend the words of guests, pundits, and newsworthy individuals. The ‘loose’ translations of speeches and statements by foreign dignitaries is an easy way to achieve this goal, as well. (Religious scholars have been using this trick for millennia.) The word literally, literally, has a new meaning. Words are often mis-pronounced in order to show who’s on which side of the debate. Divisive (div/iss/ive vs. div/ice/ive) is a classic – btw, the former is correct.

Case in point:
*attack
verb
take aggressive action against (a place or enemy forces) with weapons or armed force, typically in a battle or war.
noun
an aggressive and violent action against a person or place.
note: If words are defined as weapons, this definition might be true, but it certainly goes against the spirit of the definitions presented.
 The financial news is perhaps the area in which the most manipulation and cherry-picking occur. Negative stories about the state of the economy are played down, positive stories are played up, and complexities are never truly examined or explained (mostly because of the lack of financial knowledge on the part of the reporters.)

The complete story behind the markets, the American economy, the global economy, the actors involved, and much more can be found here, on ZeroHedge.

And then there is the stuff they just make up.

a1b

Television news has been corrupted. Bought and paid for by corporate and political interests and financed through advertising by these same entities. “Support our candidate or we will advertise on another station.” “Portray the new congressional bill in a positive light or we will cut your funding.” “Support our wars of conquest or you will be labeled as subversive, or worse.” Scratch our backs and we will scratch yours is the mantra that pervades that which passes itself off as news.

Of course, they mainstream news tries to blame the prevalence of fake stories on the internet. “How the internet misled you in 2015”-BBC. This is certainly a valid point. The reality, though, is that much of what is viral first came from a news desk. Not all their mistakes are attributable to conspiracy theorists and subversive forces. Fake social media stories can easily be ignored; those from reputed (Reuters, AP etc) and state-run news agencies (CBC, BBC etc) cannot. The implications are far too important.

News agencies must vett their sources, check their facts, verify their media, do their own research, and double-check everything otherwise the 1st Amendment (and other statutes similar to it) are left hollow, bereft of any meaning in a free and democratic society. Either that or they should admit to being an entertainment program and lose the ‘News’ moniker, altogether. Either way, honesty and integrity need to find their way back into the daily lives of the masses. They simply don’t have time to check.

Is it any wonder why news media outlets are so mis-trusted? Is it any wonder why politicians often use distrust of the news media to deflect, to distract and to deceive? And for those of you who think that this used to happen, but doesn’t anymore…

CNN_Busted_For_Faking_Satellite_Interview__151708

Both these people still make regular appearances on the cable news network. I guess their budgets are not what they used to be. I wonder why.

…do a search with these terms, “cnn fake parking lot.”

Actually, just watch this short video. (26:11)

Some more images (some viral, some from the news) for your consideration.

Lincoln Lied

This is a placeholder. I have been working on an article (perhaps in several parts) which will be posted here as soon as possible.

Lincoln, contrary to popular opinion, did not free the slaves. Slavery exists in many forms and is prevalent in every corner of the globe, even especially in the Western world.

Slavery must be ended; there is no doubt about that. “How?” is the question.

There are many aspects to this issue. Be it for labour (chocolate workers in Ivory Coast, construction workers in Dubai, textile workers in India, etc,) domestic help (in Washington diplomatic circles and embassies around the world,) baby factories (in Nigeria,) or in the sex trade (Kenya, Thailand, Nigeria, eastern Europe, etc.,) slaves are being used and moved around with impunity.

The simple fact is that it is the trade routes which must be taken down. This is even more crucial than going after the people who use these slaves. We saw Boko Haram take girls from Chibok and sell them. How do a gang of local African hoods get these girls into Europe to be used as sex slaves? Networks. These networks have been active for centuries (since colonial days) and have been used to smuggle animal parts, drugs, guns, and people. It is high time to burn down the very foundations of this practice and put an end, once and for all, to the crimes being committed to our brothers, sisters, and children all around the world. No place is immune.

The revelations on this subject will absolutely shock most of you to your core, to your very essence. Some of the names will leave you speechless.

Please stay tuned as there is much more to come on this crucially important issue.

Photo-Reality Show

Jason De Graff paints in a style called photorealism.

Acrylic on canvas, if you can believe that!

The following painting, “Eight” is an example of his work.

Eight

“My paintings are about staging an alternate reality, the illusion of verisimilitude on the painted surface, filtered so that it expresses my unique vision. Though my paintings may appear photoreal my goal is not to reproduce or document faithfully what I see one hundred percent, but also to create the illusion of depth and sense of presence not found in photographs. I try to use objects as a vehicle to express myself, to tell a story, or hint at something beyond what is actually painted. Therefore I try to choose subjects that have meaning to me or are artifacts from my life. I choose colours and composition intuitively with the intent of infusing my paintings with mood and mystery. Throughout, I try to remain open to new ideas as the painting unfolds.”

Stunning. There must be a trick to it.

Here’s “My8”

I didn’t redo his work, I just joined the ends.

my8

©laphotoshoppe[at]gmail 2016

‘Guns’ and ‘Violence’ Are Not Synonymous

President Obama just went over congress’ heads, again. It’s going to get harder and harder for Americans to aquire firearms.

The missing link in all gun (firearm) stories portrayed on the MSM is mental health. The issue of mental health is often mentioned as some sort of justification but never examined.

There is no difference between having one’s firearms confiscated for no reason and having them confiscated for an accusation of mental health. In some cases, the claim may be legitimate, nevertheless, when an accusation of failing mental health is all that is needed in order to strip someone of their rights, who is to say that this power cannot and will not be used arbitrarily. Indeed, there have been many instances in which it has. Mental health issues have been used to take people’s children, lock people up indefinitely, and have the very basis of certain legal cases discounted and thrown out. There are certainly those who are a danger to themselves and others, but using this argument against everyone in order to limit the public availability of firearms is disingenuous and unreasonable.

[This point is brought to light when one considers that very large multi-national corporations such as Serco control the mental health industry, the prison system, as well as adoption and child services, all at once. A military contractor, they also control Britain’s entire nuclear arsenal, their airports, and a good deal of the British economy. It helps that they have contacts with parliament.]

The notion of ‘pre-crime’ goes against all the democratic foundations of our system of government. The case of Sammy Yatim demonstrates this perfectly. One can be in a restaurant with thirty other people holding a steak knife and not be considered a threat, but on a bus it is a whole different matter. Even though everyone was let off the bus safely, Sammy Yatim was killed for exposing himself and holding a three inch knife in a threatening manner. He was obviously not there to kill anybody. He was clearly frustrated, distressed, and crying out for help. Isn’t helping people in that situation what the police are supposed to do? There were many different non-lethal options available to the armour-clad police, and none of them were in any danger. This begs the question, why was he shot eight times before being tasered.

Clearly, a great deal of gun violence is attributable to suicide, as are a great many police shootings. It must be assumed that this would have been accomplished with or without guns. Most young people don’t shoot themselves, anyway.

Guns are offensive weapons. Unfortunately, the only way to defend against them is to shoot back. The Swiss have a high rate of gun ownership and a very low murder rate. Swiss army chief André Blattmann advises the Swiss people to arm themselves in the face of social unrest. The US is doing the opposite. Why? Over 99.9% of all ammunition is expended in non-criminal and non-violent (unless you are a deer) activities. Guns, therefore, must serve a useful purpose. Cars are more dangerous. The environmentalists will have their hands full taking people’s cars away, too.

Besides, do you really think that a young adult with social issues and no friends whose violence was attributed to video games can’t pull off a hit rate better than 17%?


From ZeroHedge: Wed, 01/06/2016

NoDebt

“I’m going to be talking to a good friend of mine in about half an hour.  He’s got an FFL (Federal Friearms License) and he’s going to give me the straight poop on what this new Executive Order means in the real world.I think the most dangerous part of these rules revolves around the “mental illness” part.  Defined by who?  To what degree?  Is ANY doctor or therapist going to be able to file a report (rightly or wrongly) and you won’t ever pass a backround check again?  What if you have to go back to him and ask him to sign off that you’re OK now?  Do you think there is even a single doctor who would put their career on the line by backing off and saying “yeah, this guy’s OK to tote around a .357 now”.  What if that person is involved in a shooting later?  I bet the doctor gets his ass sued off.

What if you suffer from aspergers syndrome?  Alcoholism (even if you are in recover for many years)?  What about a guy who sees a shrink for a few months after, say, a messy divorce or…. you’ll love this one…. loss of a good paying middle class job?

Your doctor or therapist is now being FORCED to be a government snitch just to cover their own ass in case something happens later.  Even if it’s years distrant.  They’ll over-report “mental illness” if they get even the slightest whiff of potential trouble and they’ll NEVER reverse course after that.

You act like gun sales are the end point in this.  WRONG.  This is government intrusion by deception and coercion, as per the usual for Obama.  He doesn’t give a shit about gun sales, he cares only about implementing more government control.”


 

Knowlege vs. Intel’gence

Knowledge from Your Dictionary:

“Knowledge is defined as what is learned, understood or aware of.”

A collection of definitions of ‘knowledge.’

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think
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Intelligence from Wordsmyth:

“-the capacity to learn, reason, and understand
-the demonstration of such capacity”
.
A Collection of Definitions of Intelligence.

Knowledge is the awareness of information retained.
Intelligence is the ability to manipulate and use said information.
If knowledge is learning the alphabet and knowing words, intelligence is crafting sentences and communicating efficiently.

“In an organizational context, knowledge is the sum of what is known and resides in the intelligence and the competence of people.”

Intelligence, indeed, has many components, but it can also be seen as a process.

  • attention
  • memory
  • pattern recognition
  • discretion
  • synthesis
  • manipulation
  • usage
  • speed
  • recall
  • interpretation
  • implementation
  • evaluation

Not only is intelligence complex, it is as broad as it is tall.

“E=mc^2” has become something of a badge of intelligence although it displays nothing but information. It was arrived at, however, using nothing but pure intelligence (and lotsa’ chalk.)

“Achieving complex goals in complex environments” B. Goertzel

In AI terms, intelligence means accomplishment of a mission. This implies that success is an integral part of intelligence. Truly, if it didn’t work, it wasn’t an intelligent conclusion to have reached, or supposition to begin with.

The only thing necessary for something which is wrong to be accepted is agreement (faith, consensus, belief.)

“What a misfortune it is that we should thus be compelled to let our boys’ schooling interfere with their education!” Grant Allen

Genius describes one who knows more about a particular subject (or subjects) than almost everybody else in the world, or is seen to. The knowledge behind the intelligence to put it all together is very vertical in nature. It needs to be. Like a focused beam of light, it can reach farther. In this case, a narrower base builds a taller tower. A genius can often experience serious failings in other areas, though. Genius is relative.

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serveimage4
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Wisdom is something else altogether. Wisdom has more to do with judgement.

“Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment.” -Evan Hardin

So, one could say that wisdom comes from a lack of wisdom.
But that would be stupid.
Stupid does not mean ignorant, in the same way that intelligent does not mean knowledgeable.

Ignorant simply means not knowing. Everyone has a similar capacity to learn, it is simply that we are not all interested by the same things, and so if I am ignorant in your particular field of expertise, you view me as a moron; but you are equally ignorant in my field, and so who is stupid? Both of us? Neither? Remember that we all think we are good drivers yet we think most others are not.

And then there’s just looking smart.

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dilbert

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Dumb – not being able to say and having nothing good to say are seen as equivalent… but that is another subject, altogether.

Cloud Atlas – Freedom or Collectivism?

(The quote in the above image, as was said by several characters throughout the movie, was actually, “I will not be subjected to criminal abuse.”)

It is always odd to see such a movie as this get so little press. Even the reviews have been bereft of any deep interpretation. What is it about ‘Cloud Atlas’ which elicits such hesitation, such muted detachment, such reverence?

Normally, a Hollywood movie (directed by Tom Tykwer and the Wachowskis) with an A-list cast (Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, Hugo Weaving, Hugh Grant,) based on such an excellent book (by David Mitchell,) commanding such an enormous budget, and with arguably one of the best, most innovative screenplays (Tom Tykwer and the Wachowskis) in a long time would be hyped ad nauseum. Normally, the reviews of such a film would tear into the plot, dissecting it, explaining every motif, exposing every hidden nuance. Normal does not seem to be a word one can easily associate with this film.

Roger Ebert had nothing to say. The New Yorker review read like a history of the Wachowskis and only mentioned the plot in the second paragraph of a much too long article, going on to drop names of other great movies for lack of any constructive analogies. Salon broke the movie down chronologically and descriptively, did an FAQ style article, but failed to give any meaningful interpretation of the plot. Why such hesitation on telling an admittedly confused public what the movie was really about?

The New York Times, surprisingly, does a better job. At least it uses the words others shy away from using: freedom; slavery; deprivation; political; humanity; hope. Perhaps here are we getting closer to the ‘true-true’ reasons for such quiet praise.

There is one common thread in this movie and that is freedom. It underlies each scene and every word. Every character is at once a subject and a master. Confinement and escape are in every action. Even gravity is portrayed as an oppressive force, as well as one which brings everything together (the bridge, the cliff, the walkway, and the comet.) Yet, in the end, all are bound to each other, to the universe, and to time itself.

Collectivist ideals are rampant throughout the film through cliques, tribes, classes, and societies, yet the individual struggle to affect the whole is put front-and-center.

The film is highly politicized, as could be expected from the Wachowskis, but the lack of pre-release hype is itself telling. In this world of geo-political duplicity and main-stream propaganda, has Hollywood shown its hand as far as support for political agendas goes? It is obvious that the media wants us to feel, not think, and that subdued masses are what is needed to further the goal of societal change on a global level. One wonders if the film would have been shown at all had the story-line been any less confusing.

The film ‘Cloud Atlas’, much like ‘The Matrix’, is as close to a call-to-action as one could hope to find in a film of this scope. Truly the world needs more block-busters like this, if only to feed the divide between those who know and those who believe. Division is, after all, the goal of any socio-political movement. The modern politics of Washington are no different in this respect. Even the fabricants’ hair displays a red and a blue striped marking (which Sonmi is shown cutting off when her understanding grows.) Hopefully, there are still those amongst us who will look deeper into the message than just ‘stunning visuals’ and ‘an all-star cast.’ Hopefully, there are those who will heed the call to act when individual liberty and state sovereignty are the prize at stake.

“The weak are meat, and the strong do eat.”

Divisiveness

Everything in life which has been given importance works to divide us.

Capitalism leads to competition, it divides us into competing groups (corporations) or competitive entrepreneurs, who must each compete with each other by increasing service while decreasing cost. It is conflict which drives each market, sector, and industry. We must even compete for our jobs. We must all be better by working more and getting less value for our own time, and all for the greater good of society. Time is, after all, the only thing with which we are all born. Time is the ultimate non-renewable resource. Good is also a relative term. The more time we spend working for the good of our family, the less time we have to spend at home to raise our families properly. Since we cannot do it ourselves, the state must do it for us. Through babysitters, day-care workers, teachers, tutors, coaches, mentors, religious leaders, and nannies do we educate our children by using their morals, values, ethics, and philosophies as proxy to our own. Is this actually good? Does this lead to the betterment of society or simply a ‘lowest common-denominator’ way of looking at education. Does this improve the independance, empowerment, and decision-making ability of our kids or does it hinder their development? Increased competition has led to both parents being away from their children just to maintain the same level of comfort our parents enjoyed. We also have less time for our friends, of which we have more now. Can this be considered inflationary economics vis-a-vis relationships and familial life?

Thanks to the hightened sense of capitalistic values (or the negative view on communistic ones,) committee work is sneered at. A committee is considered to result in the lowest common denominator of the decision process instead of leading to a greater coverage of the areas involved. Ayn Rand had much to say on this subject. Capitalism has always been pitted against communism (democracy and socialism are terms of governance) as if there were no alternatives other than those two, as either can lead to fascism (which is a state solution to competition as it eliminates all forms of conflict through authoritarian rule, much like Monarchy.)

Democracy, which has become synonymous with capitalism in the west, also leads to factions: there’s the right and the left, the red and the blue, the Republicans and the Democrats, all very Jungian. Factions of factions are also present and evolving; centrist (fence-sitting,) center-right, center-left, and all the attendant sub-categories lead to more and more levels upon which to disagree. Whether you’re an elephant or a donkey, it’s always a fight against the other team (or combination of other teams) instead of working together to find common solutions.

Religious sects are a perfect example of this be they Catholics versus Protestants, Sunni versus Shia, Reform and Orthodox Judaism, or Hinduism, which is a veritable cacaphony of conflicting ideologies.

Sports, either individual or team, also bring the dualistic paradigm into sharp focus. Even reality shows are a competition. Sure, the teams must work together at times, but the end result is always the elimination of certain members such that in the end, there can be only one, the so-called winner. Victorious and alone, like the Highlander, confined to a life of solitude. This is better?

Sex is the ultimate competition. Whose genes will be passed on? What is the goal here, to solely populate the earth with one gene pool? This is surely not better. We all compete for the best mate but then lose interest after a decade or so only to start competing again, but this time with lesser resources. This has less to do with progeny than with ego, though. But ego has led to many people bringing competition in this market to the level of changing themselves physically, often with terrible consequences. Is fake ‘perfect’ better than real unique?

Everything, it would seem, is a war now. The war on terror, the war on drugs, the battle for the environment, it would seem as though the competition has been brought to its ultimate level in all aspects of our lives. Advertising displays this violent mentality better still – “We must beat the competition to bring you the best.” Wouldn’t working with the competition bring about a better deal in the end?

A good example of this is the automotive industry. It can be argued that without cars, there would be no pollution, no oil dependancy, no wars, and a lot less stress. This may be stretching things somewhat, but a case could be made. The point is that public transport would be at a far higher level than it is at today because if all those companies that try to build a ‘better’ car would have worked together and pooled their resources from the start, we’d be able to go anywhere in the world in an hour, and for a pittance. The basic structure of our thinking which has produced this economy that glorifies our duality and competitive ‘nature’ is at fault.

Is it in our nature to compete or is it more akin to humanity to work together? Different societies will have differing views on this, but beneath all that, beneath the modern constructs and psychological affectations, have societies and whole civilizations not arisen by working together? Is that not what is meant by community?

The truth of the matter is that we have been influenced, to a great extent, by those who would have us working more such that they may work less. They don’t want us working together, that’s how revolutions happen. They want us focused on bringing each other down so that we cannot climb upon our brothers’ and sisters’ shoulders for a glimpse at our own emancipation. The lazy rise to the top in our society, not the hard-working. It is always through top-down pressure that terms like team-player, overtime, austerity, trickle-down, and company-man find favour. We have been conditioned to think like those we wish to emulate. We have forgotten, it would seem, that it does tend to be lonely at the top. When team-work is given the true status it deserves, it can get to be quite dangerous there, as well.

 

 

 

Knowledge Is Power

ipsa scientia potestas est”

Meditationes Sacrae (1597) – Sir Francis Bacon

Physics tells us that power equals work over time (P=W/t.) If knowledge is power and time is money, we can substitute: knowledge equals work over money. Therefore, the ratio between knowledge and money is inversely proportional. Ergo, the more money you make, the less you probably know; or conversely, the more you know, the less you are likely to make. (There is a lower limit to this.)

Possibly also, the more money one has, the less one needs to know.

High-paying jobs are usually very pointed, very specific as far as knowledge goes. In this case, a broader base does not a taller tower make. More like a laser beam, a narrow base creates a more focused and distant reach.

This is why schooling equals ‘success’ and education equals freedom.

Furthermore, work is defined as force times distance (W=F*d.) Work, therefore, requires exertion and movement.

Work is also the product of power and time (or knowledge and money,) but since they are inversely proportional, it is a zero-sum. In other words, all work is equal in value, unless it requires no exertion, in which case it isn’t work at all.

A telling point is that the combination of knowledge and money portends force at a distance.

So the next time someone with soft hands tells you they’ve worked hard to get where they are, or that they’ve earned everything they’ve gotten through being smart, either they don’t understand the facts, or they’re lying. Maybe both.

This isn’t just an opinion; it’s math, it’s physics, it’s science!

A Pound of Flesh?

The Canadian, Dick Pound, seems to have gotten his revenge. Spurred on by several Canadian athletes, and despite every country in the world using some form of performance enhancing drugs in their athletics programs or in some of their athletes, whether they know it or not, Dick focused almost entirely on Russia, and in peculiar particular, on Putin. Everyone knew. Putin must have been aware, complicit, and complacent. Will Russia be banned from the Olympics for this conspiracy of athletic terror? Gold medals are good for the economy, and if medals are stolen, so too is the cash with which they come. This has economic implications. What doesn’t? The Israelis used the same economic terror argument against Gaza.

Remember Sochi? Wow, the opening ceremonies were just… wow! And all they ever talked about was that malfunctioning snowflake. Sour grapes.

Ben Johnson (Canadian,) Lance Armstrong (American,) and thousands of others have been found to use steroids; what is interesting here is the timing of these releases. Ben was quickly stripped of his medal in favour of his American counterpart, and Lance revealed everything at the end of his career in order to sell more books.

This story is not a story about doping. This is a story of intimidation, coercion, strong-arming, and pretending-to-not.

Continue reading “A Pound of Flesh?”

On Sea World:

If it weren’t a whale; what if it were a man? If you kept a man in a cage, even a big comfortable cage, and told him to do tricks for you, and if he didn’t do the tricks he would go back into his cage without any food, he’d probably do the tricks; and if you asked him if he was happy to do tricks for his food, he would thank you for the privilege, and bow to you, and speak highly of you, and curse you ’til the day he dies.

How could he do otherwise? You will have taken the world from him.

There is nothing further to say on this subject.

There is, however, plenty to say on the subject of modern slavery, but more on this elsewhere, soon.

Return of the City-State

Is this what the ‘globalized’ world will look like? Many thousands of separate and distinct megalopoli or city-states all operating under the same laws and all governed by a global parliament. Will there be a place for nationhood? How will people be made to abandon their flags and their armies? Have we come this far only to regress?

“Members of the [Strong Cities] network will join in the network’s first annual summit in Paris in spring 2016. The network will be led by a steering committee of about 25 cities and regions, and will be run by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, described in the press release as a “leading international ‘think-and-do’ tank” that fights violent extremism.”

Of course cities co-operate in many ways, and have for a long time, but for an organization of corporate cities to do away with the executive is still treason, and a coup d’état, whether it is to the cause of global terror or not.

It’s as though the middle class (the national executive) in world government were also being excised. Left behind are the regional elected, and the international un-elected. It’s like getting rid of Hoffa. In this way, it is turning a strong nation of [insert population here] into a set of much weaker individual cities [divide by 10 to 1000] in order to have more influence over each. It’s what every corporation has wanted to do with every trade union ever formed, and will now get their chance to do it. Off with their heads!

Combine this with the power which the UN already exercises over climate treaties, food production, medical intervention, land rights, disaster relief, etc. and we no longer need imagine a ‘New World Order’ or an ‘International Order,’ it is already upon us.

It seems that the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau wants to cross the rubicon. He was working on something else right before he was elected ‘Minister Prime.’ (The homepage has since been changed to this.)

“The Campaign for the Establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly is a global network of parliamentarians and non-governmental organizations advocating for citizens’ representation at the United Nations.

A United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA) would be the first parliamentary body directly representing the world’s citizens in the United Nations. It is envisaged as first practical step towards the long-term goal of a world parliament.

Wouldn’t this put the Prime Minister out of a job? And what does the Queen think about all of this?

It would seem that Mr. Trudeau (true to his father’s image) wants to play with the big boys. What’s he gonna’ hafta’ do and who’s he gonna’ hafta’… Nah, he’ll prolly get a free pass. You see, Pierre Elliot Trudeau (Justin’s father) was the man who privatized money creation in Canada. He ushered in the era of private central banking and huge national debt. The Canadian national debt when he took office (April 20, 1968) was $14B. When he left office (June 30, 1984,) it had reached $130B. That’s a factor of nine within sixteen years. At that rate, the debt would have been over $11T by 2016. <sarc>Thankfully, it’s only $613B now.</sarc> No wonder his son, as a liberal, likes to spend, spend, spend.

Each and every denuded cities’ largest export will be its own management. Will there be a global currency at that point, or will that be moot, as well? If it smells like feudalism…