Welcome to my overly long TED Talk about Tarkov's overall economy and the balancing issues within itself. First, before I continue with the analysis of Tarkovs economy, let me throw some definitions your way, as understanding these things is very important to understanding what i'm about to explain. FAUCETS Faucets are feature or design decision that puts value into an economy. SINKS Sinks are features or design decisions that take away value from an economy. NETS. Not sure if this is an actual definition, but a Net is something that blocks value from falling into a sink. It's not a faucet, but it acts like one. LOOT ECONOMY The loot economy is essentially the 'FIR Economy'. It encompasses every piece of loot found in raid, even loot taken off of players bodies that doesn't have the FIR tag. THE PLAYER-DRIVEN ECONOMY The player driven economy is essentially the Flea Market. Now it's important to understand what makes an economy sustainable. A stable economy would have to have tons of sinks for players to put their money into, while providing faucets for players to take money from. EFT's faucets include... -FIR LOOT from PMC RUNS -LOOT Gets Vendored -LOOT Gets Sold on Flea (Requires Level 15) -LOOT Gets Crafted Into FIR Items (Requires Hideout) -CRAFTED LOOT Gets Vendored -CRAFTED LOOT Gets Sold on FLEA (Requires Level 15) -CRAFTED LOOT Gets Used -PvP LOOT from PMC RUNS -LOOT Gets Vendored -LOOT Gets Used -FIR LOOT from SCAV RUNS -LOOT Gets Vendored -LOOT Gets Sold on Flea (Requires Level 15) -LOOT Gets Crafted Into FIR Items (Requires Hideout) -CRAFTED LOOT Gets Vendored -CRAFTED LOOT Gets Sold on FLEA (Requires Level 15) -CRAFTED LOOT Gets Used -PvP LOOT from SCAV RUNS -LOOT Gets Vendored -LOOT Gets Used -BITCOIN FARM (Requires Hideout) -And i'm sure many more than i'm missing An economy also needs to have a lot of sinks to keep an economy flowing and stop players from amassing massive hordes of wealth. EFT's sinks include... -Lost Gear from PMC RUNS (Recycles back into the 'PvP LOOT from PMC and SCAV RUNS' Faucets. But for another player.) -Flea Market Taxes -Medical Costs (Optional) -Food Costs (Optional and Minor Sink) -Hideout Upgrade Costs (Temporary Sink, Eventually turns into Faucet.) -Scav Case Losses (Gambling) -and a probably a few more that have slipped my mind. Maybe you can already start to see some issues, and I haven't even started yet. EFT's economy also has Nets, EFT's nets include -Insurance -Armor and Weapon Repairs -Items in Secure Container (Maybe that would be counted here?) EFT's economy is not sustainable. In order for an economy like EFT's to continue, they would need far more sinks to create a sense of scarcity. Veterans say that money is far too easy to make, but that's not the issue, money is far too hard to lose. Ever wonder why you see a lot of squads using meta gear? Its because they all get their insurance back whenever they die, as it only takes 1 surviving member of a 5-man team, to secure his dead squadmates gear, and chuck it in a bush. Eliminating most of a squads expenses. Solo players on the other hand, don't have this luxury, and will use a lot of low-end to mid-tier gear, expecting to lose it, and get it back in insurance, because it's not worth picking up. BSG needs to incorporate more sinks and adjust their nets in a way that fixes it, otherwise the game will forever rely on wipes, and there will never be proper scarcity in the economy. I want everyone to try and remember what it was like when you first booted up the game, had no fucking idea what you were doing, and how i'm sure many of you were scared shitless about losing your last P226 or Grach, and elated about finding a rifle, probably not knowing it shot dog-shit .366 rounds. Now, i've spoken to a lot of new players, and a lot them have this sense of overwhelming anxiety about playing the game once they realise that death has consequences. This anxiety also helps tremendously with selling the games atmosphere, but as people get more experienced and more wealthy, that anxiety goes away, and so does the games atmosphere. Its not possible to put us all back into the shoes of a new player, as a lot of the anxiety is caused by not knowing what the hell is going on or that you have an infinite source of income to the left of your PMC. But it is possible to bring back *SOME* of that anxiety by introducing gear scarcity into the Loot Economy. There is almost no gear scarcity in the Loot Economy for a few reasons. 1. The flea-market allows people to buy whatever they want, whenever they want. -There's a few ways to change this, removing it IS NOT the answer. 2. Playing in a squad tremendously increases your chances of getting your gear back in insurance. 3. Trader prices for Meta gear are far too low and Meta gear is far to easily obtained from raiders, bosses, and players wearing this gear; because it's so easy to obtain. Now these things COULD be fixed, but if you did it would make a lot of gear useless. Because there are more issues. Ammo and armor balance is scuffed. Let me just give a few examples. Everyone wants 7n31. It's a hot new ammo that everyone wants to try out, yet its sold out every trader reset. To counter this, BSG adds it as a craftable in the hideout. Now, it's all over the flea market, but very expensive, at the time of writing this it's 1700 RUB around. Pricey. Now 7n31 coupled with the rate of fire of most of the guns that shoot it, goes through level 4 and 5 like butter, and even level 6 pretty well. But this is where we start to run into issues. By increasing the supply of 7n31 and many other AP ammos, you've essentially massively decreased the effectiveness of many Higher-End armors. "Oh well, that's fine, now newer and rats players have a chance of getting through all these chad armors." Except that's not what happens. Let me use a better example. M62 is $5 a bullet. It completely ignores level 5 and goes through level 6 like butter. It is widely available, and very cheap. Why would you use Level 5 and 6 when going up against this ammo? There is no reason, Level 5 and 6 only slows you down when your up against AP Ammo. That's fine though, this rare and exotic ammo should be able to go through armor like its nothing, that's why I pay exorbitant amounts of money and grind to obtain this ammo. Except its not rare and exotic, its extremely common, with very little work to obtain, and this goes for a lot of the bullets in the game. Most Meta ammos are reasonably affordable and put down level 5 and 6 easily, which begs the question, why would I use Level 5 and 6? Why would I spend 800k on a slick, when someone can spend $5 to ignore it. This goes into another issue that I see a lot of people talking about, the TTK (Time To Kill) The TTK isn't going to be fixed by adding 5 more health to the thorax, it will be fixed when armor actually does something. The only thing 5 more health on the Thorax does is make it more expensive to run AP ammo against unarmored players, and make bolt actions useless compared to DMRs. TTK also effects the New Player experience, a lot of new player will simply spam their little makarov at big bad Altyn man and wonder why it did nothing. That's because armor isn't hard to get either, its harder to get than the ammo that pens it sure, but it's still very easy to get if you know how to get it. Meanwhile that new player is wondering why everyone is going through their cool new level 4 ceramic armor, and they're bullets aren't doing anything. Now if they fixed the the Loot Economy and made armor, ammo and other gear harder to find, it would do nothing, because the traders sell ammo extremely cheap and armor extremely expensive compared to the ammo. Which means armor is going to get burnt, found, repaired and used until that person dies and the armor gets picked up again or scrapped at fence. Now the traders, from what I understand, are supposed to eventually have extremely limited stock and options. However, seemingly, the community hates the idea of sold out traders. I have an aneurysm everytime I see a post complaining about super high-pen ammo being sold out, and then immediately see the supply go up the next day, like what just happened with 7n31. Because you're making. The problem. Worse. Now, I want to believe that BSG will continue with their plans to make an economy based on scarcity, but this community has an issue with crying about a lot of dumb shit. Which, don't get me wrong, if the vast majority agrees that something needs to change, it probably should. We play the game more than the devs, we know what is fun. But when you guys complain about something as sophisticated as tarkov's economy, and you have no idea what you're talking about, thats bad. I wouldn't be making this section of the post, if I thought that BSG would ignore the complaints. But they have this habit of caving in to the community's crys. Please BSG, do not do this. TL;DR: In order to have a good scarcity based economy, BSG needs to have more sinks in the economy to take money out of the hands of wealthy players, and they need to make ammo more expensive compared to the price of armor. The TTK issue is solved by making ammo more rare than armor, community needs to stop crying about stuff they don't understand. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.
DITO rockets up 20%, drops 30%, then finishes flat... the Aristocrats! (Wednesday, Oct 7)
Happy Wednesday, Barkada --
The PSE closed down 28 points to 5911 ▼0.5%.
Good news! I have a couple of people who are potentially interested in sponsoring MB, so I'm excited to explore those opportunities. My goal has always been to simply be revenue neutral, and to keep MB free for everyone to enjoy. (inb4 "RAID Shadow Legends" ad) Shout-out to Christine for her suggestion to try and improve the bottom-line of MB by moving from Mailchimp to SendFox. It's something I'm going to look into, but I'm very careful about making changes. I'll have to investigate. Thanks also to Jack_ol_lantern for suggesting ways to leverage my domain to try a "roll your own" alternative, and to nikohd for suggesting I offer a bitcoin donation address. I've got lots to study this weekend! No complaints here, though. Exciting times in MB town.
[UPDATE] ABS-CBN [ABS 9.00 ▼14.93%] confirms distribution deal with Zoe TV’s rebranded “A2Z Channel”... this is just confirmation of the fire that caused the ceiling-play smoke a couple of days ago that saw the ABS stock price rise 50% intraday. According to this press release, ABS-CBN and Zoe Broadcasting Network Inc have made a deal to show “some entertainment shows and movies of ABS-CBN” on A2Z Channel 11, a newly re-branded Zoe Broadcasting Network channel that will broadcast on analog TV in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces. ABS content will start appearing on this new A2Z channel starting October 10.
MB:No details yet on what content, exactly, will be shown, but the wording of the press release is interesting. It mentions “entertainment and movies” specifically, but leaves out politically-adjacent topics like news or analysis/interview shows. The Inquirer is reporting a rumor that “It’s Showtime” and “ASAP Natin ‘To” will be part of the content to make its way to A2Z Channel 11, but that has not been confirmed. Investors will want to watch this closely to see how well ABS is able to monetize this agreement with advertising, and to see how the government reacts as more ABS content moves into this pipeline.
[UPDATE] Wild DITO CME [DITO 6.81 unch], NOW Communications [NOW 4.98 ▲13.44%], and Chelsea Logistics [C 5.90 ▼4.07%] price action in yesterday’s session... the NOW and DITO pump has been massive and constant. But this last week was especially spicy, with yesterday’s session just an absolute gong-show that caused brokerage meltdowns. DITO opened the day at P7/share, up 3% on the previous day’s close, and steadily gained to a high-water mark of P8.02/share (+18%) at around 11:45am. At 11:45am, DITO had a marketcap of P22.5bn. In the next 27 minutes, DITO would lose P7.4bn in marketcap as the price imploded to P5.38/share, swinging from an 18% gain on the day to a 21% loss. Then, over the next 30 minutes, completely erasing that loss and ending the day right where it started, at P6.81/share. 2.09 billion shares changed hands on the PSE yesterday; DITO accounted for 16% of the day’s total volume (355 million shares). The three companies combined accounted for over 28% of all shares traded.
MB:MB: The amount of market uncertainty here is incredible. Traders love it, investors hate it. DITO doesn’t even own DITO Telecommunity, or anything else of material value for that matter, NOW just diluted shareholders with a bearish low-price sweetheart deal, and Chelsea is a company of tugboats and passenger ferries that happens to own a sliver of Dennis Uy’s enigmatic telecom. NOW has a long history of playing the “press release pump and dump” game, and I can only imagine that it’s happy just to be along for the ride, fluffing feathers before a potential IPO by way of introduction. Everyone in the Philippines can sense that connectivity is a bull market, whether that be mobile data (C, GLO, TEL.... then NOW) or broadband (GLO, TEL, CNVRG)...so money just keeps pouring into telco-related stocks. And it makes sense, too, given how few options there are right now on the PSE for anything that looks both pandemic-resilient and secularly profitable. But some of these things are not like the others. Some of these things will crush it, and some will not. Be careful trading telcos that you remember whether you’re being a trader (short term) or an investor (long term). Don’t start out as a trader, forget to place stops, then wind up as an investor with an investment that’s underwater. BE CAREFUL. EDIT: Also, COL Financial, get your act together. You blew AREIT and MM, and you blew yesterday's Telecommotion. At this point, traders/investors should not make plans in reliance on COL Financial's execution of a buy or sell trade.
MB is posted to /PHinvest every Monday and Wednesday, but my newsletter goes out daily. To stay in the loop for daily email delivery, please join the barkada by signing up for the newsletter, or follow me on Twitter.
From rags to riches and back to rags. I became aware of Bitcoin in 2012, but didn't invest until 2014 @ $440. A few years prior, it had hit $1k, dropped, and much of the public lost interest except for users of Silk Road. I sold all my BTC once it hit $1k for the second time. The more I read about ETH, the more I was convinced that this shit was wild. I didn't get it at first, but given my background (product engineering) I started to recognize use cases that Ethereum could take on: Debt vehicles owned by communities (rather than..JP Morgan). Music platforms owned by users. Ethereum is/was a software engineer's economic API. Prior to Ethereum, we could write apps that fit into real-world government/economies, but now, we could write entire governments and economies -- and we all know the economy is mankind's most influential behavioral system. Once that clicked, I put all my money into Ethereum. I told my friends and family to invest a bit too. I bought some in February of 2017 and continued to buy until my ether chest became my savings. Once ETH breached $100, I was extremely confident that the world was seeing Ethereum for what I saw (an economic/government-building toolset) -- wow was I wrong. ETH grew and grew, as we all know, topping out around ~$1400. I vividly remember waking up one morning, checking how much $ my investment was worth -- almost a half million. "I'll sell some once my stake reaches $500k," I said to myself idiotically. The prior night, I had gotten into a debate with a friend (who also invested) who had doubts about how long the asset would increase. I argued that the utility of Ethereum had barely hit the market, he argued that had nothing to do with the rise -- he was right. The rise of price was fueled by people telling friends/family 'I JUST MADE THIS MUCH MONEY YOU HAVE TO INVEST!!!', and had absolutely nothing to do with Ethereum's true value to society. My friend sold all of his investment around this time. I did not. I watched my investment dwindle from some ~$450k to just a few thousand. During this time, I was funding my business, so I would sell my ETH slowly as the price dropped. My stack of crypto is almost nothing today, but one thing I took away was the value of money. When my stack had reached nearly half a million, I felt the same as I do today. I felt the same as I did before I earned the money. Nothing in my life changed -- my happiness was exactly the same, except for the fact that I didn't have any stress around money. What made me happy was using my money for good causes - I donated a decent amount to ocean relief funds and used my money to build a business which made people happy via convenience. I'm sharing this because I don't know how many other people have made half a million dollars in under a year (after being broke), then lost it all, but I'm sure it's not common. This experience taught me the value of money and its limits to happiness contributions. That said -- when you're under the poverty line, the personal value of money is way higher. It's like a maslow's hierarchy of needs situation -- once you've satisfied your basic financial needs, your increase in happiness is fueled by further endeavors outside of 'earning money'.
Disclaimer: This is sort of my own arbitrary editing, so there could be some misunderstandings. I root for the spread of good spirits and transparency of IF. 📷 Hans Moog [IF]어제 오후 2:45 So why don't we just copy Avalanche? Well that's pretty simple ... 📷 Hans Moog [IF]어제 오후 2:47 1. It doesn't scale very well with the amount of nodes in the network that have no say in the consensus process but are merely consensus consuming nodes(i.e. sensors, edge devices and so on). If you assume that the network will never have more than a few thousand nodes then thats fine butif you want to build a DLT that can cope with millions of devices then it wont work because of the message complexity. 2. If somebody starts spamming conflicts, then the whole network will stop to confirm any transactions and will grind to a halt until the conflict spamming stops.Avalanche thinks that this is not a huge problem because an attacker would have to spend fees for spamming conflicts which means that he couldn't do this forever and would at some point run out of funds. IOTA tries to build a feeless protocol and a consensus that stops to function if somebody spams conflicts is really not an option for us. 3. If a medium sized validator goes offline due to whatever reason, then the whole network will again stop to confirm any transactionsbecause whenever a query for a nodes opinion can not be answered they reset the counter for consecutive successful voting rounds which will prevent confirmations. Since nodes need to open some ports to be available for queries it is super easy to DDOS validators and again bring the network confirmations to 0. 📷 Hans Moog [IF]어제 오후 3:05 4. Avalanche still processes transactions in "chunks/blocks"by only applying them after they have gone through some consensus process (gathered enough successfull voting rounds),which means that the nodes will waste a significant amount of time where they "wait" for the next chunk to be finished before the transactions are applied to the ledger state. IOTA tries to streamline this process by decoupling consensus and the booking of transactions by using the "parallel reality based ledger state" which means that nodes in IOTA will never waste any time "waiting" for decisions to be made. This will give us much higher throughput numbers. 📷 Hans Moog [IF]어제 오후 3:11 5. Avalanche has some really severe game theoretic problems where nodes are incentivized to attach their transactions to the already decided parts of the DAG because then things like conflict spam won't affect these transactions as badly as the transactions issued by honest nodes.If however every node would follow this "better and selfish" tip selection mechanism then the network will stop to work at all. Overall the "being able to stop consensus" might not be too bad since you can't really do anything really bad (i.e. double spend) which is why we might not see these kind of attacks in the immediate future but just wait until a few DeFi apps are running on their platform where smart contracts are actually relying on more or less real time execution of the contracts. Then there might be some actual financial gains to be made if the contract halts and we might see alot of these things appear (including selfish tip selection). Avalanche is barely a top 100 project and nobody attacks these kind of low value networks unless there is something to be gained from such an attack. Saying that the fact that its live on mainnet and hasn't been attacked in 3 weeks is a proof for its security is completely wrong. Especially considering that 95% of all stake are controlled by avalanche itself If you control > 50% of the voting power then you essentially control the whole network and attacks can mostly be ignored I guess there is a reason for avalanche only selling 10% of the token supply to the public because then some of the named problems are less likely to appear 📷 Navin Ramachandran [IF]어제 오후 3:21 I have to say that wtf's suggestion is pretty condescending to all our researchers. It seems heavy on the troll aspect to suggest that we should ditch all our work because iota is only good at industrial adoption. Does wtf actually expect a response to this? Or is this grand standing? 📷 Hans Moog [IF]어제 오후 3:22 The whole argument of "why don't you just use X instead of trying to build a better version" is also a completely idiotic argument. Why did ETH write their own protocol if Bitcoin was already around? Well because they saw problems in Bitcoins approach and tried to improve it. 📷 Hans Moog [IF]어제 오후 3:27 u/NavinRamachandran [IF] Its like most of his arguments ... remember when he said we should implement colored coins in 2nd layer smart contracts instead of the base layer because they would be more expressive (i.e. turing complete) completely discarding that 2nd layer smart contracts only really work if you have a consensus on data and therefore state for which you need the "traceability" of funds to create these kind of mini blockchains in the tangle? Colored coins "enable" smart contracts and it wouldnt work the other way round - unless you have a platform that works exactly like ETH where all the nodes validate a single shared execution platform of the smart contracts which is not really scalable and is exactly what we are trying to solve with our approach. 📷 Navin Ramachandran [IF]어제 오후 3:28 Always easier to criticise than build something yourself. But yet he keeps posting these inflammatory posts. At this point is there any doubt if he is making these comments constructively? 📷 Hans Moog [IF]어제 오후 3:43 If he at least would try to understand IOTAs vision ... then maybe he wouldn't have to ask things like "Why don't you just copy a tech that only works with fees" 📷 Hans Moog [IF]어제 오후 4:35 u/Shaar
I thought this would only be used to 'override' finality, eg if there were network splits. But not in normal consensus
That is not correct. Every single transaction gets booked on arrival using the parallel reality based ledger state. If there are conflicts then we create a "branch" (container in the ledger state) that represents the perception that this particular double spend would be accepted by consensus. After consensus is reached, the container is simply marked as "accepted" and all transactions that are associated with this branch are immediately confirmed as well. This allows us to make the node use all of its computing ressources 24/7 without having to wait for any kind of decision to be made and allows us to scale the throughput to its physical limits. That's the whole idea of the "parallel reality based ledger state" instead of designing a data structure that models the ledger state "after consensus" like everybody else is doing it is tailored to model the ledger state "before consensus" and then you just flip a flag to persist your decision. The "resync mechanism" also uses the branches to measure the amount of approval a certain perception of the ledger state receives. So if my own opinion is not in line with what the rest of the network has accepted (i.e. because I was eclipsed or because there was a network split), then I can use the weight of these branches to detect this "being out of sync" and can do another larger query to re-evaluate my decision.(수정됨)
Also what happens in IOTA if DRNG notes would fall out, does the network continue if no new RNGs appear for a while? Or will new nodes be added sufficiently fast to the DRNG committee that no one notices?
Its a comittee and not just a single DRNG provider. If a few nodes fail then it will still produce random numbers. And even if the whole comittee fails there are fallback RNG's that would be used instead 📷 Hans Moog [IF]어제 오후 4:58 And multiverse doesn't use FPC but only the weight of these branches in the same way as blockchain uses the longest chain wins consensus to choose between conflicts. So nodes simply attach their transactions to the transactions that they have seen first and if there are conflicts then you simply monitor which version received more approval and adjust your opinion accordingly. 📷 Hans Moog [IF]어제 오후 5:07 We started integrating some of the non-controversial concepts (like the approval reset switch) into FPC and are currently refactoring goshimmer to support this We are also planning to make the big mana holders publish their opinion in the tangle as a public statement, which allows us to measure the rate of approval in a similar way as multiverse would do it So its starting to converge a bit but we are still using FPC as a metastability breaking mechanism Once the changes are implemented it should be pretty easy to simulate and test both approaches in parallel 📷 Serguei Popov [IF]어제 오후 5:53
So the ask is that we ditch all our work and fork Avalanche because it has not been attacked in the month or so it has been up?
u/NavinRamachandran [IF] yeah, that's hilarious. Avalanche consensus (at least their WP version) is clearly scientifically unsound. 📷 Hans Moog [IF]어제 오후 9:43 u/wtfmaybe you should research avalanche before proposing such a stupid idea and you will see that what I wrote is actually true 📷 Hans Moog [IF]어제 오후 9:44 paying fees is what "protects" them atm and simply the fact that nobody uses the network for anything of value yet we cant rely on fees making attack vectors "inattractive" 📷 Serguei Popov [IF]어제 오후 10:17
well (1.) very obviously the metastability problems are not a problem in practice,
putting "very obviously" before questionable statements very obviously shows that you are seeking a constructive dialogue📷(to make metastability work, the adversary needs to more-or-less know the current opinion vectors of most of the honest participants; I don't see why a sufficiently well-connected adversary cannot query enough honest nodes frequently enough to achieve that)
(2.) .... you'd need an unpredictable number every few tens/hundreds milliseconds, but your DRNG can only produce one every O(seconds).
the above assumption (about "every few tens/hundreds milliseconds") is wrong
We've had this discussion before, where you argued that the assumptions in the FPC-BI paper (incl. "all nodes must be known") are not to be taken 100% strictly, and that the results are to be seen more of an indication of overall performance.
Aham, I see. So, unfortunately, all that time that I invested into explaining that stuff during our last conversation was for nothing. Again, very briefly. The contents of the FPC-BI paper is not "an indication of overall performance". It rather shows (to someone who actually read and understood the paper) why the approach is sound and robust, as it makes one understand what is the mechanism that causes the consensus phenomenon occur.
Yet you don't allow for that same argument to be valid for the "metastability" problem in avalanche,
Incorrect. It's not "that same argument". FPC-BI is a decent academic paper that has precisely formulated results and proofs. The Ava WP (the probabilistic part of it), on the other hand, doesnotcontain proofs of what they call results. More importantly, they don't even show a clear path to those proofs. That's why their system is scientifically unsound.
even when there's a live network that shows that it doesn't matter.
No, it doesn't show that it doesn't matter. It only shows that it works when not properly attacked. Their WP doesn't contain any insight on why those attacks would be difficult/impossible. 📷 Hans Moog [IF]어제 오후 10:56 That proposal was so stupid - Avalanche does several things completely different and we are putting quite a bit og effort into our solution to pretty much fix all of Avalanches shortcomings If we just wanted to have a working product and dont care about security or performance then we could have just forked a blockchaib I am pretty confident that once we are done - its going to be extremely close to the besttheoretical thresholds that DLTs will ever be able to achieve for an unsharded baselayer ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 📷 Bas어제 오전 2:43 Yesterday I was asked how a reasonably big company no one has heard of could best move forward implementing Access for thousands of locations worldwide. (Sorry for the vagueness, it’s all confidential.) They read the article and want to implement it because it seems to fit a problem they’re currently trying to solve. Such moves will vastly increase the utility of protocols like IOTA, and is what the speculation is built on. I do not think you can overestimate what impact Access is going to have. It’s cutting out the middleman for simple things; no server or service needed. That’s huge. So yes, I think this space will continue to growu/Coinnave -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 📷 Angelo Capossele [IF]2020.10.02. In short: we are planning a new v0.3.0 release that should happen very soon. This version will bring fundamental changes to the structure of the entire codebase (but without additional features) so that progressing with the development will be easier and more consistent. We have also obtained outstanding results with the dRNG committee managed by the GoShimmer X-Team, so that will also be integral part of v0.3.0. After that, we will merge the Value Tangle with the Message Tangle, so to have only one Tangle and make the TSA and the orphanage easier to manage. And we are also progressing really well with Mana, that will be the focus after the merge. More or less this is what is going to happen this month. We will release further details with the upcoming Research Status Update📷
I feel like sharing these thoughts because I’m having a contemplative evening and they’re coming together really nicely right now. I think having a currency, be it physical money or even a virtual currency like bitcoin or anything along those lines turns humans against themselves by making them betray their very own nature. Here’s a simplified and true example. Condensed. Scientists taught monkeys to use a currency. One of the first things that happened is a female monkey had sex with a male monkey and used the earned currency to buy a grape. So within about one day of monkeys having money the first monkey prostitute was born. You’re welcome and have a nice day. How does money turn is against our own nature? It’s a simple trick of our reward system. It’s the psychology behind money that keeps it going. Without the thought behind it it’s just useless inedible paper, metal or a bunch of tiny bits of information on a hard drive. Human reward systems are wired to go after the things that give us the greatest perceived reward and to spend the least amount of effort possible doing it. In nature, if you have two options, eat the apple that just fell on the ground in front of you or swim across a river to eat a grape on the other side, you will pick the apple on the ground. Why? Because the apple is a bigger reward and requires less energy. If you kept swimming across rivers to eat things on the other side instead of eating what’s right in front of you, you would put yourself at greater risk of drowning and eventually drown, starve or both. So our minds are geared towards finding the simplest solution. We’re also geared towards solutions that solve the most amount of problems with the least effort. For example we could keep wearing fur coats and walking around in the bush and keep getting wet and cold and making a fire to stay warm...toughing it out every day...getting attacked by predators. Or we could build a shelter and solve all of our wet and cold problems forever...and then also not have to worry about predators while we sleep. Although building a shelter requires more energy initially, you do it once and most problems are solved. So we will pick options that require more energy if the reward is greater. When our brains logical center picks up on the fact that we have done something that was easier and worked out better for us they will release chemicals that make us feel good. The reward for surviving a night in the forest is good. But the reward for building a shelter is much greater. More dopamine. That’s the reason people get hooked on crack. You do very little and you get a massive dopamine boost. Your mind learns that this minimal effort gives you the biggest perceived reward...and it keeps going. Why not? Less effort, massive reward. It’s in your nature. It’s how evolution favoured us for millions of years. It never changed. So what does this have to do with money? Money is a dopamine shortcut. You acquire money. The perceived reward of the money is much greater than the perceived reward of anything else. Your mind clues in like this: “Wait? There is something called money and all I have to to is get enough of it and ALL my needs will be met because I can buy anything I want?” That’s the biggest dopamine reward possible without inducing a chemical into your brain. Money = All Needs Met Our brains are meant to get tunnel vision when there’s an opportunity for a reward. That’s how they work. That tunnel vision is meant to blind us to the adversity we will have to face to get the reward. For example, if you are at the base of a cliff and you haven’t eaten for two days, but at the top of the cliff you can see that there is enough food to last you a year, you’re going to climb that cliff. You will set aside your fear of heights. You will set aside your hunger and aching muscles. You will pump up adrenaline and you will climb that cliff. Your body will numb the pain in your hands and feet from the sharp rocks. And you get to the top of that cliff. And you’re set for a whole year. If it wasn’t for the tunnel vision because you perceived a reward, you wouldn’t have climbed that cliff. This is all perfect in a natural environment. But we also evolved a special part of our brain that uses all kinds of logic and worst of all allows for abstract thinking. Suddenly, vague concepts in our brain can seem just as real as reality itself. This was meant to enable us to problem solve. So that if there is a problem, the perceived solution creates the same focus and tunnel vision and enables us to get things done. Let’s say I am hungry. I find some food. But it’s honey. It’s inside of a beehive. All that exists in reality is me and the bees that will sting me as I approach. But then my mind will create an alternate reality in a sense. It starts throwing abstract concepts around until it finds a solution that works. It presents the solution to the reward system the same way that that the senses themselves are hooked up to it. Suddenly, I see myself lighting a fire and smoking out the bees and eating the honey. This now seems just as real to me as reality itself. It takes that solution and tells me “if you do this you will get your dopamine reward”. The mirage in my mind that shows me the solution by meddling with the part of my brain that processes my senses blinds me a bit to other sensory input because it has to take up that space in the brain to create a fake reality in the hopes it will become real. It’s a phenomenon that’s been proven over millions of years to work. It’s what gives humans an edge over most animals. Instead of just instinct, theres now a processing edge that takes in a ton of data and performs advanced risk vs reward calculations and tells us what to do. It’s better than instinct. Instead of fight or flight, there’s now focused intention. It works. So I light a fire and smoke out the bees ignoring the odd minor sting because I know this is sure to work and I will get my honey in the end. So now we are a species that is meant to specifically expend energy to problem solve ways to best meet the most of our needs as easily as possible. And we have a currency that exists as a social concept that presents a solution to rapidly meet all our needs. We also have a reward system that will easily justify making sacrifices to meet our needs. This is a massive problem. A reward as great as money doesn’t exist in nature. However it exists as an abstract concept in our head that carries just as much weight in our decision making as something that exists for real. And the abstract concept presents a perceived reward far greater than anything we could attain from out environment. Basically, money only exists as an abstract concept. But our brains are wired to work with abstract concepts as if they were real because it enables our survival and is a part of how our thoughts work. So at some point in everyone’s life they are exposed to the abstract concept of money through language. The language creates thoughts that enable us to fall into a dopamine trap looking for a reward thats greater and requires less effort to attain. So now our brains do what they do best. They generate a strong focus. They get tunnel vision. They prepare your body and mind to go through the hurdles necessary to attain a reward. And worse, our minds reprioritize. In the example with the cliff, reprioritization plays a role. Normally avoiding heights and not cutting myself is high up on my list if things I want to avoid. We are wired to avoid pain. But the years worth of food creates a reprioritization. Suddenly a couple cuts don’t seem like a big deal. The thought of falling to my death, a risk normally avoided at all costs, suddenly is an afterthought in the quest for food. In the example with the cliff though there are limitations. There’s an upper limit to how far it will go. So if the rocks turn out to be way too sharp or it’s seemingly impossible to climb, I will look for a way around it and it all else fails give up and look for food elsewhere. But once inna while I will think of the cliff and maybe come up with a solution some day. But with money because we aren’t aware of it for what it really is and we haven’t given much thought to it, it basically slowly corrupts us. Every time we get money we get a dopamine hit. The more money we get, the bigger that dopamine hit is. The more we get the reward, the more the behaviour we chose to acquire it is reinforced. Just like the example with the beehive. I got the honey. I’ll remember it and find another beehive later. It just works. This is good for survival. We remember that getting money worked. We will do it again. Especially once we have experienced the moment of spending it and seeing that it does in fact work and that other people are all in on the secret. And because money gives us the greatest reward possible, we will go after it harder than we will go after everything else. The reprioritization and tunnel vision this causes are the biggest problem. The more money you get, the more you repeat the cycle, the more of a cash junkie you become. Why do addicts lie, cheat, steal, neglect their kids and ruin their lives? Because their minds have reprioritized to a bigger hit of dopamine by getting it the easiest way possible. It’s the same with money. But almost worse because it actually does work. And the reward is bigger. But the reprioritization seems to know no bounds. Here is the evil this brings into the world. It creates a conflict of interest. Everyone is out to get money as their primary goal. Or almost everyone. Only those who are intelligent and see through the dopamine trap tend to avoid it. And they usually end up cast aside by society because the society has reprioritized money over these individuals health and happiness. We reprioritize our own children out of our lives. Suddenly we can justify making them go to school with complete strangers and we honestly don’t know what their day is like. But it’s okay because the money we’re making solves all problems after all. It can solve their problems too that’s why they have a college fund. So we raise lonely damaged kids who will have money and no happiness and we go against our own nature. Naturally mothers and fathers are wired to spend 100% of their time with their children and take them with them unless they are doing something dangerous. We now to against out own wiring and dehumanize ourselves and our children because money is around the corner. Let’s say you have to get therapy. The fact that the therapist, who is supposed to be helping you, earns money to help you creates a conflict of interest. They will have a dopamine system that naturally drives them to want to earn more money. Which means instead of helping you the best they can, they will want to help you in a way that earns them the most cash. To the point where if you go through a crisis and need help the most but can’t pay because you’re short rent, they will literally sever a 2 year long relationship when you’re in your biggest time of need. Sadly, money has taken priority over actually helping the client. Lets say a police officer responds to your call for help. If it’s something that is less likely to get them ahead in their career, like a burglary in a poor area, they will be less motivated to help you even if the crime is more serious. They want to advance in their career to get more money so they will be less motivated to spend time and effort on you even if a terrible crime has been committed. Our whole healthcare system isn’t motivated to find cures for diseases but just treatments. As that solution makes the most sense when viewed through the skewed lens of the money dopamine taking precedence over all else. Money is now valued over the health and wellbeing of the patients. So there’s a conflict of interest with the healthcare system, pharmaceutical system and so on. The people working for those companies all want to make money and whether doing it consciously or subconsciously they will tend to lean towards options that get them more money because again it’s a he quickest way to the greatest reward. I hope you see where I’m going with this. Money is like a fucking drug. It doesn’t exist in nature and just in our heads which actually makes it worse than a drug. At least you can see drugs and the effect they are having on someone’s life. Money is much more insidious. You can tell how high someone is by looking at them. But you can’t tell how much money they have. And even if you can tell they have money because they’re flaunting it, your goal will suddenly become to be just like them. Because you think that it they have money, you can have money too if you do what they do. No one looks at Joe the crackhead and thinks “Oh my God I want to be like him when I grow up.” But everyone looks at Trump the billionaire, whose ONLY redeeming factor is that he’s the biggest junkie to cash on Earth. He put kids in fucking modern day concentration camps. And we’re all ignoring it. Because we’re all focused on other things. Saving those kids will probably be inconvenient for us anyway because we might get a criminal record which will make us less likely to earn money later. Or we might ruin our social status by talking about it which will ruin our ability to earn money later. So basically in short the whole world is completely fucked because about 90% of the population has an addiction to a currency that only exists in out heads, is probably on par with crack addiction as far as the severity it causes us to reprioritize our lives around it, and instead of seeing it as a problem we see it as something to aspire to because it’s in our nature to do that. You see someone fishing you want to learn how to fish because it’s an easier way to get food. You see someone making money and you want to do what they’re doing damn you and their and everyone else’s humanity because your dopamine is now hijacked by a concept your mind will never drop because it gives the greatest reward with the least energy expenditure. We hurt ourselves by neglecting our own needs because or the tunnel vision. We willingly hand our lives and most of our time over to people who have more money than us or a greater ability to earn money than us (we call them employers to cushion the blow and to feed into our own junkie like denial that we have a problem). There’s a lot more money to be made in cutting down the rainforest than there is to be made in saving it. And here is the worst part of all of this: There is no way out. Because the majority of the world is ruled by money there is nowhere to go to get away from it. If you decide you don’t want money you’re going to be hated by all the people who want money first and foremost and are in denial. People don’t like people who don’t care about money. Because they think like junkies. Their minds are so reprioritized that they can see someone freezing to death on the street and just think... Well I could help them but it would be inconvenient because it might get in the way of my sleep which would get in the way of work which would get in the way of me getting money. That’s basically what this is doing to us. So when the fuck are we going to realize that as a species at this point in time on planet Earth we collectively have an addiction which is destroying us and the entire planet we live on? When are we going to put down the proverbial crack pipe and realize “we have a problem” and go do a fucking cashaholics anonymous group and say... “I need to make amends to all the people I’ve hurt and the planet I’ve destroyed because of my problem. I’m destroying myself and my children. I’m ruining everyone’s life including my own. Because I have an addiction to money.”
Cultural Exchange between /r/Lebanon and /r/berlin
Welcome to the Cultural Exchange between /Lebanon and /berlin/ Courtesy of our friends over at /berlin/ we are pleased to host our end of the cultural exchange between the two subreddits. The purpose of this event is to allow people from two different regions to get and share knowledge about their respective cultures, daily life, history and curiosities.
German friends will ask their questions about Lebanon on this thread itself.
English is generally recommended to be used to be used in both threads.
Event will be moderated, following the guidelines of Reddiquette and respective subreddit rules.
Quick introduction about Lebanon
Quick explanation of what is happening in Lebanon (Before the explosion): https://imgur.com/a/Ixo3v8S Introduction Lebanon is a tiny country in the middle east. It's bordered by Syria from the north and east, Israel from the south, and the Mediterranean Sea from the west. Syria has been in a deadly civil war since 2012. Lebanon and Israel are officially "at war" since the inception of Israel, though currently there isn't any war going on, and the last real war between the two countries happened in 2006 and lasted only 30 days. Lebanon went into a long and deadly civil war in the 70s and 80s. It only ended when the war lords sat together and decided that instead of attempting to kill each other, why not become rulers and split the gains. Thus from the early 90s until today Lebanon has been ruled by the same warlords that fought in the civil war. The speaker of the parliament never changed, not even once, and the rest of MPs and politicians just switched ministries and places every few years to present the image of democracy. Lebanon also has Hizbollah, an organization that is labeled as a terrorist organization by many countries. Hizbollah has more powerful intillegence and military than the Lebanese government itself. The organization has unobstructed powers, for example, it started the 2006 war with Israel without the acceptance of the official Lebanese government. Lebanese politicians save their billions and billions of dollars in savings in banks across Europe, mainly Switzerland. Lebanon doesn't have oil, nor a serious construction sector. Lebanon relies on the service sector and tourism to survive, both of which are almost nonexistent at this point. Lebanon has a huge crippling debt. Lebanon's capital, Beirut, was voted the most expensive city to live in in the middle east two years ago. Lebanon's passport is one of the worst passports in the world and doesn't allow you to visit any notable country without a visa. October 2019 - Political, COVID-19 and Economical Problems In October 2019, the government approved a law that would increase taxes, and tax the usage of Whatsapp. The Lebanese population attempted a peaceful revolution, the country effectively closed down from October until December. The revolution was successful in forcing the government to resign, but wasn't able to make the president, MPs or speaker of the parliament resign. Things went to shit after that, unofficial capital control started in October. The bank declared that people can't withdraw money from their savings or current accounts. People weren't allowed to transfer money outside Lebanon or use any credit or debit card internationally. The government started considering a haircut. The currency started to lose value rapidly. The official rate is currently 1$ = 1,515 LBP while the black market rate is 1$ = 8,500 LBP The money stuck in the bank is useless, almost frozen because it can't be withdrawn without losing ~65% of it's value and even then, in small quantities. Add to that COVID-19 is ripping the country. We're having exponential growth in the number of cases right now. The Explosion On August 4, 2020 multiple explosions occurred in Beirut Port that destroyed half the city, killed hundreds, with an additional large number of people missing, injured hundreds of thousands of people and made 300,000 people homeless. 80000 children displaced. The explosion was so big that it was heard and felt in Cyprus and Syria. There were reports of damages to properties from the explosions all over Lebanon, not just in Beirut. The explosion destroyed half of the city including busy hospitals, which ended up causing people to have to deliver or have critical operations using the flash light from the doctors' cellphones. The explosion killed several foreign nationals including French, German, Canadian, American, and Australian citizens. This post is made to raise awareness about what happened in Lebanon by sharing the videos of the incident. Please note that those videos are graphic as they show the moment the explosion happened. Donation Help Any kind of monetary donation will go a LONG way during these times. You can donate using your credit card, paypal account, bank transfer or bitcoin donation. You can find a list of verified and safe NGOs to donate to here: https://www.reddit.com/lebanon/comments/iaakslist_of_lebanese_ngos_that_are_verified_and_safe/ You can check out some of the videos here:
So I'm looking through my old yearbooks, and I'm realizing that I missed out on a crucial part of my life: during high school, I was supposed to have a punk phase. I can't believe I missed it! It seemed like everyone was rocking their unruly hair, their unkempt clothes, and their general disaffection towards life. Man, Green Day released new records, and there was an unrelenting hatred for all types of authority figures... Wait, this is just a slab of concrete with newspaper articles from 2020 stapled to it, isn't it. Regardless, the universe is telling me it's time for me to reclaim my lost childhood experiences; to go back to a better time. Unfortunately, latent legal issues surrounding my controversial "BONG HiTS 4 JESUS" sign prevent me from going within 500 feet of any type of school, so winning the basketball championship and visiting the aquarium are right out. But I can still be the moodiest, edgiest, darkest person on the planet, and now that I've beaten Shadow the Hedgehog all the way through and went to Hot Topic, it's time to build a commander deck that's truly me. Presenting: RAMSESO V E R D A R K!
Ramses is the bad boy your mother would never let take you to IHOP. Not that he'd care; his business is killing, and he's efficient at it too, costing the least out of any commander I've ever written about. You want to sit around and drink tea with your little enchanted princess friends? Ramses Overdark is here to tell you how the real world works. Nothing personnel, kid.
Commander For You
Like a TI-83 Silver Edition, Ramses is a stone-cold calculating problem solver, but he only gets that way with some preparation. See, killing is a business, Ramses' business, and the one thing every business needs is synergy. So call me Nathan Fielder, because I'm going to unveil the plan that will keep this enterprise running smoothly:
Procure the payment.
Keep your friends close.
Keep your enemies closer.
Go to work.
As a teenager, I procrastinated from my task of being edgy by protesting government-backed financial institutions with the Bitcoin community, and one thing you learn there very quickly is that assassination ain't cheap. The first and most obvious barrier to breaking 18 U.S. Code § 1117 is his six mana casting cost, and unlike Gabriel, Ramses demands something a little more tangible than a green thumb to appease him. We're going to use the usual fare: rings, trinkets, stones, lockets, relics... archives... spheres? With you as an investor, Ramses' business (which is killing) will make a killing, letting us take full advantage of Revel in Riches as both a ramp tool and backup win condition. Ramses will also often require additional gas to keep going, whether it be finding a steady stream of enchantments to throw onto enemies, or to finding ways to close out games.
And don't forget about the artifacts that sacrifice themselves for cards: In a pinch, you can throw Curator's Ward onto them instead of Ramses.
Enchantment payoffs are few and far between in Dimir, so we're keeping this build a bit creature-light; but the ones we take with are absolutely vital for our success. While Ramses is no Cleopatra, he's still managed to form relationships with some important Greek allies:
Hateful Eidolon is another great draw engine. You're going to be enchanting enemy creatures constantly, so it'll be a steady stream of card advantage.
Protean Thaumaturge can transform into copies of anything on the board, and since you're usually targeting huge threats, he's straight value.
If you prefer just taking creatures instead of becoming them, Rootwater Matriarch is the mother everyone wants to follow, as she takes control of enemy enchanted creatures.
Man, she's way cooler than my mom. Incidentally, these control changing effects can go away, so lets include a sacrifice outlet, like Blasting Station.
Nighthowler is both the name of my new punk band and a decent Bestow creature. Cast it as a creature directly, or use it to build up Ramses' hit-list first.
Blightcaster lets you snipe less relevant creatures while you go for the big ones. I like saying "pew!" when I ping things. Please, take me seriously.
Grim Guardian is an Aristocrats-style payoff for enchantments, which is exactly the sort of talent Ramses' agents should be recruiting.
Rootwater Shaman gives your enchantments flash, making your targets subtle and you s n e a k y. Pretty sus, bro.
Agent of Erebos is repeatable graveyard exile, which isn't necessarily worth a slot but it pisses off Sandy, my Muldrotha-playing ex-wife.
Our deck only runs sixteen creatures, and while being a lone-wolf is edgy, it's not the type of edge I want to be. I feel like I'm a Halloween bobbing apple -- razor edgy; the type of edge that speaks to people, in the very depths of their soul, and causes them to rebel against the man. In the end, I will be so edgy that even those rotten adults will realize I'm right. Enchant opposing creatures with reanimation-on-death enchantments:
Once opposing creatures are enchanted with one of these Auras, they become juicy targets for Ramses, as killing them will put them into play under your control. Unfortunately, six isn't a critical mass for Ramses; to ensure that Ramses' business isn't killed by a lack of clientele, let's use some recursive enchantments.
Remember Dragon Fangs from the last article? Dragon Shadow and Dragon Wings come back to haunt your opponents, auto-enchanting beefy boys at your discretion to give Ramses a target.
Echoing Fallen Angel from Ramses' set League of Legends, Fallen Ideal is a recursive enchantment that's also a sacrifice outlet.
The "Most 2020 Mood Award" goes to Despondency, which lowers a creature's power and keeps comin' back, again and again.
Screams from Within is unique in that it will auto-attach after death instead of coming back to your hand. Be aware that if you've got no enemy targets, it's gonna end up on Ramses.
Slow Motion's Pendrell-type effect might be enough to save you a Ramses activation if your opponent doesn't care enough to pay the toll.
Rounding out the auras, we've got a few utility spells we can play for neat effects:
Ramses' weapon of choice is obviously the Doom Blade, which he'll cast for you if his target is enchanted with Chime of Night.
If you prefer opponents to discard cards instead, Dying Wail's got you covered.
Your opponents will be at world's end when you exile their big threats off the top of their deck with Dead Man's Chest. This is the type of luxury even Gonti's jealous of!
And here's some spicy tech for you: Ensoul Artifact lets Ramses remove an artifact with his ability.
A lot of creatures are going to end up dead, which makes Rise of the Dark Realms a great end-game finisher. But that's boring. Are you ready to learn Ramses' true dark secret? Because here's where I blow your mind.
...lets you sacrifice Iridescent Drake to Blasting Station which...
...deals 1 damage and triggers the enchantment which means...
..Iridescent Drake goes onto the battlefield, returning...
This combo will make you feel like Joker, because your opponents will never see it coming. You've got some redundancy in the deck in case things don't pan out: use Fallen Ideal as your sacrifice outlet and win condition to swing with an evasive infinity/infinity attacker, or deal damage using Grim Guardian's Constellation trigger. Should Iridescent Drake be interacted with (which is illegal, by the way), use Ill Gotten Gains to get your combo pieces back to hand and recur some protective counterspells. I'm not a punk, I'm a goddamn dragon genius. Finally, the deck is truly me!
In conclusion, the Ramses Overdark deck for the Commander format is a fun and powerful budget deck for you to try. I hope you enjoyed reading my paper as much as I enjoyed writing- ...Buh? Oh. I guess I reverted to hastily written high school paper writing. Is that really what I sounded like? You know, people say you never really realize what you have until it's gone. It's easy to look to memories of better days and feel that melancholy drop in your stomach. It's natural to feel wistful for a time past when rain drips down the window. But the truth is also that you don't really realize what you don't have until you obtain it. Our experiences may be painful now, but that's no reason to give up hope. You can get over darkness. Look forward instead of back, because in that future lies a wiser you.
Meet Brock Pierce, the Presidential Candidate With Ties to Pedophiles Who Wants to End Human Trafficking
thedailybeast.com | Sep. 20, 2020. The “Mighty Ducks” actor is running for president. He clears the air (sort of) to Tarpley Hitt about his ties to Jeffrey Epstein and more. In the trailer for First Kid, the forgettable 1996 comedy about a Secret Service agent assigned to protect the president’s son, the title character, played by a teenage Brock Pierce, describes himself as “definitely the most powerful kid in the universe.” Now, the former child star is running to be the most powerful man in the world, as an Independent candidate for President of the United States. Before First Kid, the Minnesota-born actor secured roles in a series of PG-rated comedies, playing a young Emilio Estevez in The Mighty Ducks, before graduating to smaller parts in movies like Problem Child 3: Junior in Love. When his screen time shrunk, Pierce retired from acting for a real executive role: co-founding the video production start-up Digital Entertainment Network (DEN) alongside businessman Marc Collins-Rector. At age 17, Pierce served as its vice president, taking in a base salary of $250,000. DEN became “the poster child for dot-com excesses,” raising more than $60 million in seed investments and plotting a $75 million IPO. But it turned into a shorthand for something else when, in October of 1999, the three co-founders suddenly resigned. That month, a New Jersey man filed a lawsuit alleging Collins-Rector had molested him for three years beginning when he was 13 years old. The following summer, three teens filed a sexual-abuse lawsuit against Pierce, Collins-Rector, and their third co-founder, Chad Shackley. The plaintiffs later dropped their case against Pierce (he made a payment of $21,600 to one of their lawyers) and Shackley. But after a federal grand jury indicted Collins-Rector on criminal charges in 2000, the DEN founders left the country. When Interpol arrested them in 2002, they said they had confiscated “guns, machetes, and child pornography” from the trio’s beach villa in Spain. While abroad, Pierce had pivoted to a new venture: Internet Gaming Entertainment, which sold virtual accessories in multiplayer online role-playing games to those desperate to pay, as one Wired reporter put it, “as much as $1,800 for an eight-piece suit of Skyshatter chain mail” rather than earn it in the games themselves. In 2005, a 25-year-old Pierce hired then-Goldman Sachs banker Steve Bannon—just before he would co-found Breitbart News. Two years later, after a World of Warcraft player sued the company for “diminishing” the fun of the game, Steve Bannon replaced Pierce as CEO. Collins-Rector eventually pleaded guilty to eight charges of child enticement and registered as a sex offender. In the years that followed, Pierce waded into the gonzo economy of cryptocurrencies, where he overlapped more than once with Jeffrey Epstein, and counseled him on crypto. In that world, he founded Tether, a cryptocurrency that bills itself as a “stablecoin,” because its value is allegedly tied to the U.S. dollar, and the blockchain software company Block.one. Like his earlier businesses, Pierce’s crypto projects see-sawed between massive investments and curious deals. When Block.one announced a smart contract software called EOS.IO, the company raised $4 billion almost overnight, setting an all-time record before the product even launched. The Securities and Exchange Commission later fined the company $24 million for violating federal securities law. After John Oliver mocked the ordeal, calling Pierce a “sleepy, creepy cowboy,” Block.one fired him. Tether, meanwhile, is currently under investigation by the New York Attorney General for possible fraud. On July 4, Pierce announced his candidacy for president. His campaign surrogates include a former Cambridge Analytica director and the singer Akon, who recently doubled down on developing an anonymously funded, $6 billion “Wakanda-like” metropolis in Senegal called Akon City. Pierce claims to be bipartisan, and from the 11 paragraphs on the “Policy” section of his website it can be hard to determine where he falls on the political spectrum. He supports legalizing marijuana and abolishing private prisons, but avoids the phrase “climate change.” He wants to end “human trafficking.” His proposal to end police brutality: body cams. His political contributions tell a more one-sided story. Pierce’s sole Democratic contribution went to the short-lived congressional run of crypto candidate Brian Forde. The rest went to Republican campaigns like Marco Rubio, Rick Perry, John McCain, and the National Right to Life Political Action Committee. Last year alone, Pierce gave over $44,000 to the Republican National Committee and more than $55,000 to Trump’s re-election fund. Pierce spoke to The Daily Beast from his tour bus and again over email. Those conversations have been combined and edited for clarity. You’re announcing your presidential candidacy somewhat late, and historically, third-party candidates haven’t had the best luck with the executive office. If you don’t have a strong path to the White House, what do you want out of the race? I announced on July 4, which I think is quite an auspicious date for an Independent candidate, hoping to bring independence to this country. There’s a lot of things that I can do. One is: I’m 39 years old. I turn 40 in November. So I’ve got time on my side. Whatever happens in this election cycle, I’m laying the groundwork for the future. The overall mission is to create a third major party—not another third party—a third major party in this country. I think that is what America needs most. George Washington in his closing address warned us about the threat of political parties. John Adams and the other founding fathers—their fear for our future was two political parties becoming dominant. And look at where we are. We were warned. I believe, having studied systems, any time you have a system of two, what happens is those two things come together, like magnets. They come into collision, or they become polarized and become completely divided. I think we need to rise above partisan politics and find a path forward together. As Albert Einstein is quoted—I’m not sure the line came from him, but he’s quoted in many places—he said that the definition of insanity is making the same mistake or doing the same thing over and over and over again, expecting a different result. [Ed. note: Einstein never said this.] It feels like that’s what our election cycle is like. Half the country feels like they won, half the country feels like they lost, at least if they voted or participated. Obviously, there’s another late-comer to the presidential race, and that’s Kanye West. He’s received a lot of flak for his candidacy, as he’s openly admitted to trying to siphon votes away from Joe Biden to ensure a Trump victory. Is that something you’re hoping to avoid or is that what you’re going for as well? Oh no. This is a very serious campaign. Our campaign is very serious. You’ll notice I don’t say anything negative about either of the two major political candidates, because I think that’s one of the problems with our political system, instead of people getting on stage, talking about their visionary ideas, inspiring people, informing and educating, talking about problems, mentioning problems, talking about solutions, constructive criticism. That’s why I refuse to run a negative campaign. I am definitely not a spoiler. I’m into data, right? I’m a technologist. I’ve got digital DNA. So does most of our campaign team. We’ve got our finger on the pulse. Most of my major Democratic contacts are really happy to see that we’re running in a red state like Wyoming. Kanye West’s home state is Wyoming. He’s not on the ballot in Wyoming I could say, in part, because he didn’t have Akon on his team. But I could also say that he probably didn’t want to be on the ballot in Wyoming because it’s a red state. He doesn’t want to take additional points in a state where he’s only running against Trump. But we’re on the ballot in Wyoming, and since we’re on the ballot in Wyoming I think it’s safe—more than safe, I think it’s evident—that we are not here to run as a spoiler for the benefit of Donald Trump. In running for president, you’ve opened yourself up to be scrutinized from every angle going back to the beginning of your career. I wanted to ask you about your time at the Digital Entertainment Network. Can you tell me a little bit about how you started there? You became a vice president as a teenager. What were your qualifications and what was your job exactly? Well, I was the co-founder. A lot of it was my idea. I had an idea that people would use the internet to watch videos, and we create content for the internet. The idea was basically YouTube and Hulu and Netflix. Anyone that was around in the ‘90s and has been around digital media since then, they all credit us as the creators of basically those ideas. I was just getting a message from the creator of The Vandals, the punk rock band, right before you called. He’s like, “Brock, looks like we’re going to get the Guinness Book of World Records for having created the first streaming television show.” We did a lot of that stuff. We had 30 television shows. We had the top most prestigious institutions in the world as investors. The biggest names. High-net-worth investors like Terry Semel, who’s chairman and CEO of Warner Brothers, and became the CEO of Yahoo. I did all sorts of things. I helped sell $150,000 worth of advertising contracts to the CEOs of Pepsi and everything else. I was the face of the company, meeting all the major banks and everything else, selling the vision of what the future was. You moved in with Marc Collins-Rector and Chad Shackley at a mansion in Encino. Was that the headquarters of the business? All start-ups, they normally start out in your home. Because it’s just you. The company was first started out of Marc’s house, and it was probably there for the first two or three months, before the company got an office. That’s, like, how it is for all start-ups. were later a co-defendant in the L.A. County case filed against Marc Collins-Rector for plying minors with alcohol and drugs, in order to facilitate sexual abuse. You were dropped from the case, but you settled with one of the men for $21,600. Can you explain that? Okay, well, first of all, that’s not accurate. Two of the plaintiffs in that case asked me if I would be a plaintiff. Because I refused to be a part of the lawsuit, they chose to include me to discredit me, to make their case stronger. They also went and offered 50 percent of what they got to the house management—they went around and offered money to anyone to participate in this. They needed people to corroborate their story. Eventually, because I refused to participate in the lawsuit, they named me. Subsequently, all three of the plaintiffs apologized to me, in front of audiences, in front of many people, saying Brock never did anything. They dismissed their cases. Remember, this is a civil thing. I’ve never been charged with a crime in my life. And the last plaintiff to have his case dismissed, he contacted his lawyer and said, “Dismiss this case against Brock. Brock never did anything. I just apologized. Dismiss his case.” And the lawyer said, “No. I won’t dismiss this case, I have all these out-of-pocket expenses, I refuse to file the paperwork unless you give me my out-of-pocket expenses.” And so the lawyer, I guess, had $21,000 in bills. So I paid his lawyer $21,000—not him, it was not a settlement. That was a payment to his lawyer for his out-of-pocket expenses. Out-of-pocket expenses so that he would file the paperwork to dismiss the case. You’ve said the cases were unfounded, and the plaintiffs eventually apologized. But your boss, Marc Collins-Rector later pleaded guilty to eight charges of child enticement and registered as a sex offender. Were you aware of his behavior? How do you square the fact that later allegations proved to be true, but these ones were not? Well, remember: I was 16 and 17 years old at the time? So, no. I don’t think Marc is the man they made him out to be. But Marc is not a person I would associate with today, and someone I haven’t associated with in a very long time. I was 16 and 17. I chose the wrong business partner. You live and you learn. You’ve pointed out that you were underage when most of these allegations were said to take place. Did you ever feel like you were coerced or in over your head while working at DEN? I mean, I was working 18 hours a day, doing things I’d never done before. It was business school. But I definitely learned a lot in building that company. We raised $88 million. We filed our [form] S-1 to go public. We were the hottest start-up in Los Angeles. In 2000, you left the country with Marc Collins-Rector. Why did you leave? How did you spend those two years abroad? I moved to Spain in 1999 for personal reasons. I spent those two years in Europe working on developing my businesses. Interpol found you in 2002. The house where you were staying reportedly contained guns, machetes, and child pornography. Whose guns and child porn were those? Were you aware they were in the house, and how did those get there? My lawyers have addressed this in 32 pages of documentation showing a complete absence of wrongdoing. Please refer to my webpage for more information. [Ed. Note: The webpage does not mention guns, machetes, or child pornography. It does state:“It is true that when the local police arrested Collins-Rector in Spain in 2002 on an international warrant, Mr. Pierce was also taken into custody, but so was everyone at Collins-Rector’s house in Spain; and it is equally clear that Brock was promptly released, and no charges of any kind were ever filed against Brock concerning this matter.”] What do you make of the allegations against Bryan Singer?[Ed. Note: Bryan Singer, a close friend of Collins-Rector, invested at least $50,000 in DEN. In an Atlantic article outlining Singer’s history of alleged sexual assault and statutory rape, one source claimed that at age 15, Collins-Rector abused him and introduced him to Singer, who then assaulted him in the DEN headquarters.] I am aware of them and I support of all victims of sexual assault. I will let America’s justice system decide on Singer’s outcome.
In 2011, you spoke at the Mindshift conference supported by Jeffrey Epstein. At that point, he had already been convicted of soliciting prostitution from a minor. Why did you agree to speak? I had never heard of Jeffrey Epstein. His name was not on the website. I was asked to speak at a conference alongside Nobel Prize winners. It was not a cryptocurrency conference, it was filled with Nobel Prize winners. I was asked to speak alongside Nobel Prize winners on the future of money. I speak at conferences historically, two to three times a week. I was like, “Nobel Prize winners? Sounds great. I’ll happily talk about the future of money with them.” I had no idea who Jeffrey Epstein was. His name was not listed anywhere on the website. Had I known what I know now? I clearly would have never spoken there. But I spoke at a conference that he cosponsored. What’s your connection to the Clinton Global Initiative? Did you hear about it through Jeffrey Epstein? I joined the Clinton Global Initiative as a philanthropist in 2006 and was a member for one year. My involvement with the Initiative had no connection to Jeffrey Epstein whatsoever.
You’ve launched your campaign in Minnesota, where George Floyd was killed by a police officer. How do you feel about the civil uprising against police brutality? I’m from Minnesota. Born and raised. We just had a press conference there, announcing that we’re on the ballot. Former U.S. Senator Dean Barkley was there. So that tells you, when former U.S. Senators are endorsing the candidate, right? [Ed. note: Barkley was never elected to the United States Senate. In November of 2002, he was appointed by then Minnesota Governor Jesse Venture to fill the seat after Sen. Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash. Barkley’s term ended on Jan. 3, 2003—two months later.] Yes, George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis. My vice-presidential running mate Karla Ballard and I, on our last trip to Minnesota together, went to visit the George Floyd Memorial. I believe in law and order. I believe that law and order is foundational to any functioning society. But there is no doubt in my mind that we need reform. These types of events—this is not an isolated incident. This has happened many times before. It’s time for change. We have a lot of detail around policy on this issue that we will be publishing next week. Not just high-level what we think, not just a summary, but detailed policy. You said that you support “law and order.” What does that mean? “Law and order” means creating a fair and just legal system where our number one priority is protecting the inalienable rights of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” for all people. This means reforming how our police intervene in emergency situations, abolishing private prisons that incentivize mass incarceration, and creating new educational and economic opportunities for our most vulnerable communities. I am dedicated to preventing crime by eliminating the socioeconomic conditions that encourage it. I support accountability and transparency in government and law enforcement. Some of the key policies I support are requiring body-cams on all law enforcement officers who engage with the public, curtailing the 1033 program that provides local law enforcement agencies with access to military equipment, and abolishing private prisons. Rather than simply defund the police, my administration will take a holistic approach to heal and unite America by ending mass incarceration, police brutality, and racial injustice. Did you attend any Black Lives Matter protests? I support all movements aimed at ending racial injustice and inequality. I have not attended any Black Lives Matter protests. My running-mate, Karla Ballard, attended the March on Washington in support of racial justice and equality. Your platform doesn’t mention the words “climate change.” Is there a reason for that? I’m not sure what you mean. Our policy platform specifically references human-caused climate change and we have a plan to restabilize the climate, address environmental degradation, and ensure environmental sustainability. [Ed. Note: As of writing the Pierce campaign’s policy platform does not specifically reference human-caused climate change.] You’ve recently brought on Akon as a campaign surrogate. How did that happen? Tell me about that. Akon and I have been friends for quite some time. I was one of the guys that taught him about Bitcoin. I helped make some videogames for him, I think in 2012. We were talking about Bitcoin, teaching him the ropes, back in 2013. And in 2014, we were both speaking at the Milken Global Conference, and I encouraged him to talk about how Bitcoin, Africa, changed the world. He became the biggest celebrity in the world, talking about Bitcoin at the time. I’m an adviser to his Akoin project, very interested in the work that he’s doing to build a city in Africa. I think we need a government that’s of, for, and by the people. Akon has huge political aspirations. He obviously was a hugely successful artist. But he also discovered artists like Lady Gaga. So not only is he, himself, a great artist, but he’s also a great identifier and builder of other artists. And he’s been a great businessman, philanthropist. He’s pushing the limits of what can be done. We’re like-minded individuals in that regard. I think he’ll be running for political office one day, because he sees what I see: that we need real change, and we need a government that is of, for, and by the people. You mentioned that you’re an adviser on Akoin. Do you have any financial investments in Akoin or Akon City? I don’t believe so. I’d have to check. I have so much stuff. But I don’t believe that I have any economic interests in his stuff. I’d have to verify that. We’ll get back to you. I don’t believe that I have any economic interests. My interest is in helping him. He’s a visionary with big ideas that wants to help things in the world. If I can be of assistance in helping him make the world a better place, I’m all for it. I’m not motivated by money. I’m not running for office because I’m motivated by power. I’m running for office because I’m deeply, deeply concerned about our collective future. You’ve said you’re running on a pro-technology platform. One week into your campaign last month, a New York appeals court approved the state Attorney General’s attempt to investigate the stablecoin Tether for potentially fraudulent activity. Do you think this will impact your ability to sell people on your tech entrepreneurship? No, I think my role in Tether is as awesome as it gets. It was my idea. I put it together. But I’ve had no involvement in the company since 2015. I gave all of my equity to the other shareholders. I’ve had zero involvement in the company for almost six years. It was just my idea. I put the initial team together. But I think Tether is one of the most important innovations in the world, certainly. The idea is, I digitized the U.S. dollar. I used technology to digitize currency—existing currency. The U.S. dollar in particular. It’s doing $10 trillion a year. Ten trillion dollars a year of transactional volume. It’s probably the most important innovation in currency since the advent of fiat money. The people that took on the business and ran the business in years to come, they’ve done things I’m not proud of. I’m not sure they’ve done anything criminal. But they certainly did things differently than I would do. But it’s like, you have kids, they turn 18, they go out into the world, and sometimes you’re proud of the things they do, and sometimes you shake your head and go, “Ugh, why did you do that?” I have zero concerns as it relates to me personally. I wish they made better decisions. What do you think the investigation will find? I have no idea. The problem that was raised is that there was a $5 million loan between two entities and whether or not they had the right to do that, did they disclose it correctly. There’s been no accusations of, like, embezzlement or anything that bad. [Ed. Note: The Attorney General’s press release on the investigation reads: “Our investigation has determined that the operators of the ‘Bitfinex’ trading platform, who also control the ‘tether’ virtual currency, have engaged in a cover-up to hide the apparent loss of $850 million dollars of co-mingled client and corporate funds.”] But there’s been some disclosure things, that is the issue. No one is making any outrageous claims that these are people that have done a bunch of bad—well, on the internet, the media has said that the people behind the business may have been manipulating the price of Bitcoin, but I don’t think that has anything to do with the New York investigation. Again, I’m so not involved, and so not at risk, that I’m not even up to speed on the details. [Ed note: A representative of the New York State Attorney General told Forbes that he “cannot confirm or deny that the investigation” includes Pierce.] We’ve recently witnessed the rise of QAnon, the conspiracy theory that Hollywood is an evil cabal of Satanic pedophiles and Trump is the person waging war on them. You mentioned human trafficking, which has become a cause for them. What are your thoughts on that? I’ve watched some of the content. I think it’s an interesting phenomenon. I’m an internet person, so Anonymous is obviously an organization that has been doing interesting stuff. It’s interesting. I don’t have a big—conspiracy theory stuff is—I guess I have a question for you: What do you think of all of it, since you’re the expert? You know, I think it’s not true, but I’m not running for president. I do wonder what this politician [Georgia congressional candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene], who’s just won her primary, is going to do on day one, once she finds out there’s no satanic cabal room. Wait, someone was running for office and won on a QAnon platform, saying that Hollywood did—say what? You’re the expert here. She won a primary. But I want to push on if we only have a few minutes. In 2006, your gaming company IGE brought on Steve Bannon as an investor. Goldman later bought out most of your stock. Bannon eventually replaced you as CEO of Affinity. You’ve described him as your “right-hand man for, like, seven years.” How well did you know Bannon during that time? Yes, so this is in my mid-twenties. He wasn’t an investor. He worked for me. He was my banker. He worked for me for three years as my yield guide. And then he was my CEO running the company for another four years. So I haven’t worked with Steve for a decade or so. We worked in videogame stuff and banking. He was at Goldman Sachs. He was not in the political area at the time. But he was a pretty successful banker. He set up Goldman Sachs Los Angeles. So for me, I’d say he did a pretty good job. During your business relationship, Steve Bannon founded Breitbart News, which has pretty consistently published racist material. How do you feel about Breitbart? I had no involvement with Breitbart News. As for how I feel about such material, I’m not pleased by any form of hate-mongering. I strongly support the equality of all Americans. Did you have qualms about Bannon’s role in the 2016 election? Bannon’s role in the Trump campaign got me to pay closer attention to what he was doing but that’s about it. Whenever you find out that one of your former employees has taken on a role like that, you pay attention. Bannon served on the board of Cambridge Analytica. A staffer on your campaign, Brittany Kaiser, also served as a business director for them. What are your thoughts on their use of illicitly-obtained Facebook data for campaign promotional material? Yes, so this will be the last question I can answer because I’ve got to be off for this 5:00 pm. But Brittany Kaiser is a friend of mine. She was the whistleblower of Cambridge Analytica. She came to me and said, “What do I do?” And I said, “Tell the truth. The truth will set you free.” [Ed. Note: Investigations in Cambridge Analytica took place as early as Nov. 2017, when a U.K. reporter at Channel 4 News recorded their CEO boasting about using “beautiful Ukranian girls” and offers of bribes to discredit political officials. The first whistleblower was Christopher Wylie, who disclosed a cache of documents to The Guardian, published on Mar. 17, 2018. Kaiser’s confession ran five days later, after the scandal made national news. Her association with Cambridge Analytica is not mentioned anywhere on Pierce’s campaign website.] So I’m glad that people—I’m a supporter of whistleblowers, people that see injustice in the world and something not right happening, and who put themselves in harm’s way to stand up for what they believe in. So I stand up for Brittany Kaiser. Who do you think [anonymous inventor of Bitcoin] Satoshi Nakamoto is? We all are Satoshi Nakamoto. You got married at Burning Man. Have you been attending virtual Burning Man? I’m running a presidential campaign. So, while I was there in spirit, unfortunately my schedule did not permit me to attend. OP note: please refer to the original article for reference links within text (as I've not added them here!)
Wandering From the Path? | Monthly Portfolio Update - August 2020
Midway along the journey of our lifeI woke to find myself in a dark wood,for I had wandered off from the straight path. Dante, The Divine Comedy: Inferno, Canto I This is my forty-fifth portfolio update. I complete this update monthly to check my progress against my goal. Portfolio goal My objective is to reach a portfolio of $2 180 000 by 1 July 2021. This would produce a real annual income of about $87 000 (in 2020 dollars). This portfolio objective is based on an expected average real return of 3.99 per cent, or a nominal return of 6.49 per cent. Portfolio summary
Vanguard Lifestrategy High Growth Fund $733 769
Vanguard Lifestrategy Growth Fund $41 794
Vanguard Lifestrategy Balanced Fund $78 533
Vanguard Diversified Bonds Fund $110 771
Vanguard Australian Shares ETF (VAS) $216 758
Vanguard International Shares ETF (VGS) $64 542
Betashares Australia 200 ETF (A200) $237 138
Telstra shares (TLS) $1 540
Insurance Australia Group shares (IAG) $6 043
NIB Holdings shares (NHF) $5 532
Gold ETF (GOLD.ASX) $121 976
Secured physical gold $19 535
Ratesetter (P2P lending) $8 998
Bitcoin $177 310
Raiz app (Aggressive portfolio) $17 421
Spaceship Voyager app (Index portfolio) $2 759
BrickX (P2P rental real estate) $4 477
Total portfolio value $1 848 896 (+$48 777 or 2.7%) Asset allocation
Australian shares 41.5%
Global shares 22.6%
Emerging market shares 2.2%
International small companies 2.8%
Total international shares 27.6%
Total shares 69.2% (5.8% under)
Total property securities 0.2% (0.2% over)
Australian bonds 4.4%
International bonds 8.9%
Total bonds 13.3% (1.7% under)
Gold and alternatives 17.2% (7.2% over)
Presented visually, below is a high-level view of the current asset allocation of the portfolio. [Chart] Comments The portfolio has increased in value for the fifth consecutive month, and is starting to approach the monthly value last reached in January. The portfolio has grown over $48 000, or 2.7 per cent this month, reflecting the strong market recovery since late March [Chart] The growth in the portfolio was broadly-based across global and Australian equities, with an increase of around 3.8 per cent. Following strong previous rises, gold holdings decreased by around 2.2 per cent, while Bitcoin continued to increase in value (by 2.5 per cent). Combined, the value of gold and Bitcoin holdings remain at a new peak, while total equity holdings are still below their late January peak to the tune of around $50 000. The fixed income holdings of the portfolio continue to fall below the target allocation. [Chart] The expanding value of gold and Bitcoin holdings since January last year have actually had the practical effect of driving new investments into equities, since effectively for each dollar of appreciation, for example, my target allocation to equities rises by seven dollars. New investments this month have been in the Vanguard international shares exchange-traded fund (VGS) and the Australian shares equivalent (VAS). These have been directed to bring my actual asset allocation more closely in line with the target split between Australian and global shares set out in the portfolio plan. As the exchange traded funds such as VGS, VAS and Betashares A200 now make up nearly 30 per cent of the overall portfolio, the quarterly payments they provide have increased in magnitude and importance. Early in the journey, third quarter distributions were essentially immaterial events. Using the same 'median per unit' forecast approach as recently used for half yearly forecasts would suggest a third quarter payout due at the end of September of around $6000. Due to significant announced dividend reductions across this year I am, however, currently assuming this is likely to be significantly lower, and perhaps in the vicinity of $4000 or less. Finding true north: approach to achieving a set asset allocation One of the choices facing all investors with a preferred asset allocation is how strictly the target is applied over time, and what variability is acceptable around that. There is a significant body of financial literature around that issue. My own approach has been to seek to target the preferred asset allocation dynamically, through buying the asset class that is furthest from its target, with new portfolio contributions, and re-investment of paid out distributions. As part of monitoring asset allocation, I also track a measure of 'absolute' variance, to understand at a whole of portfolio level how far it is from the desired allocation. This is the sum of the absolute value of variances (e.g. so that being 3 per cent under target in shares, and 7 per cent over target in fixed interest will equal an absolute variance of 10 per cent under this measure). This measure is currently sitting near its highest level in around 2 years, at 15.0 per cent, as can be seen in the chart below. [Chart] The dominant reason for this higher level of variance from target is significant appreciation in the price of gold and Bitcoin holdings. Mapping the sources of portfolio variances Changes in target allocations in the past makes direct comparisons problematic, but previous peaks of the variance measure matches almost perfectly past Bitcoin price movements. For a brief period in January 2018, gold and Bitcoin combined constituted 20 per cent, or 1 in 5 dollars of the entire portfolio. Due to the growth in other equity components of the portfolio since this level has not been subsequently exceeded. Nonetheless, it is instructive to understand that the dollar value of combined gold and Bitcoin holdings is actually up around $40 000 from that brief peak. With the larger portfolio, this now means they together make up 17.2 per cent of the total portfolio value. Tacking into the wind of portfolio movements? The logical question to fall out from this situation is: to what extent should this drive an active choice to sell down gold and Bitcoin until they resume their 10 per cent target allocation? This would currently imply selling around $130 000 of gold or Bitcoin, and generating a capital gains tax liability of potentially up to $27 000. Needless to say this is not an attractive proposition. Several other considerations lead me to not make this choice:
The problem may solve itself as portfolio grows - Growth and continued investments in the portfolio will tend to reduce the variance caused by gold and Bitcoin. The asset allocation targeting approach I adopt has seen continued contributions to equities, reducing the ability of these alternative assets to add to future variance.
Falls in Bitcoin or gold values will also solve the problem - Conversely, price falls in Bitcoin or gold will tend to reduce the variance issue, and such price falls have significant precedents, with for example Bitcoin holdings falling to a value of around $50 000 as recently as January 2019.
If neither of these happen, there may be bigger issues to solve - The only scenario where neither of these alleviating factors occur is should gold and Bitcoin continue to rapidly appreciate compared to other assets, in which case it is difficult to see the value of reducing exposure now.
Does Bitcoin even fit the asset allocation model? - Bitcoin in particular is not a well established or accepted asset class as yet, so it may not be appropriate to apply traditional allocation rules to it - it may be functioning more as a hedge or option against extreme states of the world. Linked to this is the high degree of volatility in Bitcoin. Adopting too tight a target on Bitcoin holdings would potentially see a need to buy and sell Bitcoin frequently, where my intention is to actually never purchase any more.
This approach is a departure from a mechanistic implementation of an asset allocation rule. Rather, the approach I take is pragmatic. Tracking course drift in the portfolio components As an example, I regularly review whether a significant fall in Bitcoin prices to its recent lows would alter my monthly decision on where to direct new investments. So far it does not, and the 'signal' continues to be to buy new equities. Another tool I use is a monthly measurement of the absolute dollar variance of Australian and global shares, as well as fixed interest, from their ideal target allocations. The chart below sets this out for the period since January 2019. A positive value effectively represents an over-allocation to a sector, a negative value, an under-allocation compared to target. [Chart] This reinforces the overall story that, as gold and Bitcoin have grown in value, there emerges a larger 'deficit' to the target. Falls in equities markets across February and March also produce visibly larger 'dollar gaps' to the target allocation. This graph enables a tracking of the impact of portfolio gains or losses, and volatility, and a better understanding of the practical task of returning to target allocations. Runaway lines in either direction would be evidence that current approaches for returning to targets were unworkable, but so far this does not appear to be the case. A crossing over: a credit card FI milestone This month has seen a long awaited milestone reached. Calculated on a past three year average, portfolio distributions now entirely meet monthly credit card expenses. This means that every credit card purchase - each shopping trip or online purchase - is effectively paid for by average portfolio distributions. At the start of this journey, distributions were only equivalent to around 40 per cent of credit card expenses. As time has progressed distributions have increased to cover a larger and larger proportion of card expenses. [Chart] Most recently, with COVID-19 related restrictions having pushed card expenditure down further, the remaining gap to this 'Credit Card FI' target has closed. Looked at on an un-smoothed basis, expenditures on the credit card have continued to be slightly lower than average across the past month. The below chart details the extent to which portfolio distributions (red) cover estimated total expenses (green), measured month to month. [Chart] Credit card expenditure makes up around 80 per cent of total spending, so this is not a milestone that makes paid work irrelevant or optional. Similarly, if spending rises as various travel and other restrictions ease, it is possible that this position could be temporary. Equally, should distributions fall dramatically below long term averages in the year ahead, this could result in average distributions falling faster than average monthly card expenditure. Even without this, on a three year average basis, monthly distributions will decline as high distributions received in the second half of 2017 slowly fall out of the estimation sample. For the moment, however, a slim margin exists. Distributions are $13 per month above average monthly credit card bills. This feels like a substantial achievement to note, as one unlooked for at the outset of the journey. Progress Progress against the objective, and the additional measures I have reached is set out below. Measure Portfolio All Assets Portfolio objective – $2 180 000 (or $87 000 pa) 84.8% 114.6% Credit card purchases – $71 000 pa 103.5% 139.9% Total expenses – $89 000 pa 82.9% 112.1% Summary What feels like a long winter is just passed. The cold days and weeks have felt repetitive and dominated by a pervasive sense of uncertainty. Yet through this time, this wandering off, the portfolio has moved quite steadily back towards it previous highs. That it is even approaching them in the course of just a few months is unexpected. What this obscures is the different components of growth driving this outcome. The portfolio that is recovering, like the index it follows, is changing in its underlying composition. This can be seen most starkly in the high levels of variance from the target portfolio sought discussed above. It is equally true, however, of individual components such as international equity holdings. In the case of the United States the overall index performance has been driven by share price growth in just a few information technology giants. Gold and Bitcoin have emerged from the shadows of the portfolio to an unintended leading role in portfolio growth since early 2019. This month I have enjoyed reading the Chapter by Chapter release of the Aussie FIRE e-book coordinated by Pearler. I've also been reading posts from some newer Australian financial independence bloggers, Two to Fire, FIRE Down Under, and Chasing FIRE Down Under. In podcasts, I have enjoyed the Mad Fientist's update on his fourth year of financial freedom, and Pat and Dave's FIRE and Chill episodes, including an excellent one on market timing fallacies. The ASX Australian Investor Study 2020 has also been released - setting out some broader trends in recent Australian investment markets, and containing a snapshot of the holdings, approaches and views of everyday investors. This contained many intriguing findings, such as the median investment portfolio ($130 000), its most frequent components (direct Australian shares), and how frequently portfolios are usually checked - with 61 per cent of investors checking their portfolios at least once a month. This is my own approach also. Monthly assessments allow me to gauge and reflect on how I or elements of the portfolio may have wandered off the straight way in the middle of the journey. Without this, the risk is that dark woods and bent pathways beckon. The post, links and full charts can be seen here.
“Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth”- Nazi Propagandists, Joseph Goebbels.
Axioms are our base assumptions about the world. They act as filters for new information coming into our consciousness. In classic philosophy, an axiom is a statement that is so evident or well-established, that it is accepted without controversy or question. As used in modern logic, an axiom is a premise or starting point for reasoning. We use these axiomatic assumptions to build our internal models of the world around us. They allow us to compare new information we receive from the outside with our internal narratives, which helps us to decide whether to reject or accept that new information. They are, for want of a better world, your "common sense" beliefs. So how do you go about changing a relatively normal person's core beliefs and base assumptions to the point of rejecting their fellow citizens as traitors, committing acts of murderous terrorist or vigilante violence like Fascist white supremacists running down protesters in acts of terror, ISIS beheadings or mass genocide?
Shock Treatment and Slow Repetition
When I was a child I was subjected to regular mental and physical abuse from my dad. I would also see my mother repeatedly beaten up and then flee to a women's refuge where I would stay with her. Each time my mom left, whenever I visited my dad at weekends, he would constantly try to pressure and manipulate me into convincing my mom to get back together with him. This never worked of course. But what it did do, is make me highly sensitive to manipulation techniques. I was fascinated by people like the magician Derren Brown and the economist Naomi Klein - who both reveal the tricks of the trade used in the advertising and marketing industries to convince people. One way of changing people into killing machines or obedient sheep is through a big shock to the system, like how electroshock therapy allows for a clean slate to rebuild peoples intern mental models. Psychedelics are another way, having a similar effect in the brain. Encouraged by the alt right and alt-light influencers like Jordan Peterson and Rebel Wisdom as they try to “Red Pill” people (an expression taken from the film The Matrix as a metaphor for revealing revealing the truth about the world). They use this shock and disorientation as a way to prepare a “blank-slate” in order to rebuild peoples internal axiomatic models with different core beliefs. Remaking people by shocking them into obedience and gas-lighting them about their existing internal models, making them seem irrational, silly or outdated. Reducing them to a mental state of a child and then rebuilding them with a new ideology and worldview, known as “shock therapy”. As Naomi Klein explains in The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, these techniques work on larger scales with use of trauma and shock to influence political outcomes has been used since at least Milton Friedman coined the term “Economic Shock Treatment”. He advised that politicians push through painful and unpopular policies all at once during a time of crisis, before people could regain their footing. The technique is used in economic markets on the large scale, and also against individuals on a small scale with individuals too. Economics and politics is just human interaction on a larger scale, after all. Regular repetition and gentle suggestions of ideas can also instil new axiomatic models and core beliefs into people's minds. As Derren Brown demonstrates how powerful subtly suggestions can be alone, without the need for hypnosis, shocks or drugs. But used in combination, shock and repetition can shift people until they have moved their positions, perceptions and beliefs about the world, to a place they could never have imagined. But luckily once you deconstruct the deception and understand how the trick works, the illusion falls apart.
Defining and Deconstructing Modern Fascism
Firstly, we must define Modern Fascism. Modern Fascism ticks every box of the traditional definitions in Umberto Eco’s essay Ur-Fascism, and not only does it fulfil every criteria, it reveals other motivational forces and has evolved to include new aspects, and has changed into something worse, while it’s main weakness remain the same - the fact that it is primarily motivated by weakness. As General Franco said in a 1938 interview with Henri Massis: "Fascism presents, wherever it manifests itself, characteristics which are varied to the extent that countries and national temperaments vary. It is essentially a defensive reaction of the organism, a manifestation of the desire to live, of the desire not to die, which at certain times seizes a whole people. So each people reacts in its own way, according to its conception of life… What can it have in common with Hitlerism, which was, above all, a reaction against the state of things created by the defeat, and by the abdication and the despair that followed it?" This quote perfectly illustrates the transient nature of the ideology, but also the core motivations of Fascism. It is an ideology based on the assumption of weakness which yearns for restoration of a past greatness or to get revenge and recognition. But the way that it manifests itself is different in each place it takes hold. Therefore the aim of this isn’t to make the case that any particular party or country has embraced out-right fascism (plenty of other people have made that case already), the aim is to reveal the underlying motivations, highlight threats and weaknesses and analyse the less obvious negative effects of Modern Fascism.
History Doesn’t Repeat, But It Rhymes
A false equivalence that is often used is that Liberal Imperialism is just the same as Fascism. And while it is true that imperialists use fascist dictators to extract cheap labour and resources and also dominate smaller counties in a similar way to how fascist empires aspire to rule, the key difference is that the populations of those countries are not gripped by the same fear based delusions. And therefore more Liberal democracies are better equipped to hold their imperial position of power long term because they are better able to assess risks and react accordingly, rather than over-react based on paranoia and competing egos under excessive pressure. This false equivalence was also used in 1930’s Germany, because far-left Communists had been co opted and infiltrated by Fascists. They would repeat the mantra that “the Social Democrats were the real racists”. Contrary to the assumptions of most people, Fascism, as an ideology and political system of government is very distinct to white supremacy. It does of course include white supremecists, but In fact includes many other groups who have been co-opted by Fascist propaganda, or who implicitly support and enable their agenda. Examples of modern opposition which has been repeatedly infiltrated or just simply made up by Fascists include innumerable conspiracy theories, police groups like Blue Lives Matter, militant Black nationalists, the Boogaloo movement who call for a race war, the “Proud Boys” and even sometimes supposed Anarchists, far-left Communists and Left Accelerationists.
Motivations of Fascism
Fascism distilled down to its core reason for existing is the suppression of opposition who represent workers rights and economic justice. So they patently DON’T look after their own people. They con them into submission of the state by generating jingoistic fear of “the other” - whoever is convenient on that day to blame for their problems. Fascism is is an economic shock doctrine upon the inhabitants of the country. We don't spread fascist propaganda in tip-pot dictators because we care about the indiginous people there. We install Fascist dictators in order to remove workers rights and open up access to their natural resources. Artificial moral panics can be engineered and real disasters used to allow corrupt oligarchs and financial predators to consolidate power further by buying up small innovative businesses who don’t have the excess capital to survive the turmoil on their own without external support. Or as a way to eradicate public services by sabotaging them and building mistrust. They are used to erode faith in public services and institutions by rich people who simply want to pay less tax and don’t see why they should subsidise other human beings who haven’t had the same luck as them. So a major motivation of fascism is to suppress the opposition left-wing party who represent workers rights and egalitarian freedoms. Populists claim to be against free trade and to some extent they are, but whatever they do will fail because they are interfering with the markets, so they will retreat to the power of market domination. They use their threats of trade barriers as more just more shock treatment for markets, rather than protecting actual jobs or industries. This is a trick that has been played by Neoliberals too. But while Neoliberals use fascism as a tool for opening markets to Imperialism, they differ from Libertarians, not only because they embrace guns and weed, but they are starting from different positions to achieve the same goal; Neoliberals seek to remove already existing public services and workers rights that lift bargaining power. But Libertarians want to STOP the government from ever providing those services and investments into the poor or enshrining workers rights.
Modern Fascist Ideology has TWO Core Reasons to Exist; Fear and Freed.
I have been researching and analysing how economic systems differ, using a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threads). For each economic system I tried to be as neutral, fair and balanced as possible - which included Fascism. I might seem strange that someone who is anti-Fascist would want to explore the strenghts and opportunities of Fascist ideologies, but in doing so it reveals the real weaknesses and threats which are too important for us to ignore. So what exactly IS Fascism? Is it just an economic doctrine or a personal philosophy about the world? The answer is both. The ideology has TWO core reasons to exist, and TWO distinct audiences types - with one based primarily on fear and the other greed, with each having a malignant and symbiotic relationship with each other. Fear - Authoritarian/Conservative Fascists Greed - Libertarian Fascists There are very few people who actually buy into full Fascist ideology, most believe a watered down version of which resembles Conservatism or right-wing populism or accelerationism, and most of them genuinely believe they aren’t fascist, even though they are being constantly fed subtle suggestions fascist ideology or that align with their plans. But the most ironic thing is that these groups are mostly being used by the second group of rich Libertarians globalist elites pulling a confidence trick on the host nation. Often posing “anti-establishment” conspiracists who actually uphold the establishment through misinformation. See: Russia Today and Youtube Bitcoin and Gold shills who subtly suggest fascist talking points. With those rich Libertarians at the top more than happy for those below them, who they deem less worthy, living in even more delusional ideologies with fake enemies to fear, often resembling traditional Christian but values wrapped in modern conspiracies with added elements of “satanic panic”. Modern Fascism has clearly inspired the modern day equivalents of Brownshirts and Blackshirts, self-styled vigilantes like QAnon, The Proud Boys and “The Boogaloo” - white nationalist violent extremists who want to accelerate towards a full-on race war. It has also infiltrated numerous alternative groups, such as hyper-evangelical “end times” cults, alternative health scenes, internet conspiracy scenes like flat earth and occult magic.
A commonly missing hallmark of fascism that is present in history during the rise of fascism is a controlled opposition and explicit suppression of opposition. This distorts a healthy society and has unforeseen consequences and blowback. Fantasies and political thought bubbles are self delusional custom realities resembling an episode of Black Mirror. They act as coping and escape mechanisms. Especially during the Covid 19 lock-down, these tendencies have gone into overdrive with massive events entering the real world featuring David Ike leading protesters alongside fascists as people ignore rising Fascism, climate change destruction and Covid deaths tolls. Using disasters like Covid or irrational scare tactics such as the "Satanic Panic" style Fascist propaganda from QAnon, can shock people using their fear and disgust response, while making them distrust the news - allowing the government to evade valid criticism from experts while suggesting to people that government public services are inherently evil or Communist. This type of propaganda is a Libertarians wet dream - making a population not only give up on tax funded public services, but actively fear them. An example is Trump trying to discredit and defund the US Postal Service and other public institutions and regulatory bodies. Anti Semitism has been used throughout history by those in power to provoke an “us vs. them” mentality, leading to today's establishment still sanctioning and allowing Qanon on major media platforms, provoking and agitating terrorist attackers from the far-left and the far-right. Those in power in fascist regimes allow and encourage mistrust in the mainstream media, while the long-tail niche political and interest groups keep people separated from each other, who each live in their own custom realities while the real elites continue to dominate and increase their power. With each bubble framing realities based of identity, race, class, nationality, or even subculture special interests like alternative medicine and “gamer bro” culture, so that when they interact in real life or online, they are speaking past each other because they don’t even agree on the basic principles of how they view society.
The Fatal Flaws of Living in a Fantasy
While the main flaws and weaknesses of Fascism remain the same, they are in-fact exacerbated by this new hybrid model. It’s main weakness is the very fact that it is motivated by weaknesses, fear and greed - rather than true strength, self-confidence or heroic benevolent power, as their adherents like to believe. A misconception of fascists themselves that it is based on strength, when it is actually based on weakness - even when the driving force is greed rather than fear. Libertarian fascists want to extract labour and materials at cheaper prices, while inflating their own asset values. In other words; international financiers with little allegiance to any country. Ironically the very type of people who Conservative fascists claim to be opposed to. Fascism claims to make society more successful, but it actually accelerates the destruction of the culture, country or people, rather than preserving and conserving it, because it betrays a fundamental weakness of insecurity. Competitors and rivals can easily see through the charade of and take advantage. If anything does the exact opposite. Russian and China are clearly goading Western nations into becoming more divided and totalitarian, as they themselves benefit from becoming more Liberal and open and reap the competitive advantages that brings. See Kraut’s excellent video about Trump on China as an example. Keynesian investment in the country and people, giving workers more rights, opportunities and a more bargaining power is what makes a country successful and innovative, rather than the faux Keynesian policy of giving kickbacks to corrupt officials for government contracts and widening inequality by supporting the already rich, rather than the ordinary people.
Who Benefits in This Memetic War?
Who is going to war with who? Who is winning? A modern adage is that tankies are just fascists because of their support of authoritarian proto-fascist leaders and regimes who often claim to be Communist. But from my experience talking to actual fascists, they crave a more multi-polar world where other strong leaders rise up as competition and form alliances with dictators. So to me, it looks like Fascists are the real Tankies; wishing our enemies be stronger and wanting to accelerate towards race war or civil war that weakens the society. Not only did Donald Trump have knowledge of Russia allowing ISIS bounties on US troops and withhold that from the public while courting Putin, I have personally heard white supremacists backing extremists Islamists in Discord servers. Trump jumped to the defense of the people who put a 17 year old with a gun against civil rights protesters and assumed the intent before saying that the outcome should be decided by the legal system. They share common values and beliefs like Anti Semitism, accelerationist end-times fantasies, patriarchal traditional values and a fear of outside progressive cultures. In fact modern extremists white supremecist groups share recruitment and terrorist strategies and tactics with militant islamists. You could argue that it was inflicted by Russian or Imperialist propagandists onto the German people in order to take control of larger areas of Europe after the destabilisation of war. Hitler and Stalin came to a non agression truce called The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, which as was a secret non-aggression pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union that enabled those two powers to partition Poland between them. The pact, signed in Moscow on 23 August 1939 by German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov was officially known as the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. They divided Poland under the banner of fighting “Polish Fascism” nearly a century ago with both sides ultimately lying to their own people about spreading freedom while being authoritarian to their core and being able to blame “the other” as being the cause of all their problems. But these days fascism seems to be a rogue meme that no longer serves any particular group. It is pathologically damaging to any society that it happens to grip. Even the aforementioned Libertarians and accelerationists who think they are benefiting are only temporarily gaining by market price volatility. They ultimately lose through the blowback effect of the whirlpool they create.
Psychopathy, Alienation Nihilism and Insecurity
It is well established that Fascist dictators are driven by psychopathic characters and tendencies. They either don’t care about the truth, or disregard it if it’s not convenient to their narrative. In totalitarian despotic societies facts are reversed. As George Orwell proclaimed throughout his writings; “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”. Similar to how authoritarian Starlinist Communists harnessed people’s alienation and tricked them into thinking that it’s possible for the state to fully decommodify everything without having markets, money to account for things, domination or hierarchy or try to convince people that a revolution is just around the corner. But of course, a council representative is still the head of an organisation, for all intents and purposes, because they wield executive power over others, even if the name has changed. Markets are emergent properties when groups of humans want or need a certain commodity when it becomes available. But while both Communist and Fascist ideologies are based on lies that harness peoples alienation, fear and envy, Fascism is also especially to the weak. It is attractive to those who want to be strong again (or were never to begin with), or those who want to have a strong leader to help them. Fascism betrays to others the inherent weakness. Like the insecure kid in school who lashes out - others around can see that it is because of their own insecurity which makes them appear even weaker. Fascism is a psychopathy driven by insecurity. When people become so absorbed in an ideology there is a phenomena of people to self identify as an actual ideology? This produces a phenomena called Identity Protective Cognition, where people's self worth becomes attached to a belief system or ideology. So that when new information contradicts their worldview it is seen as an attack on the person themselves. Therefore irrational, emotional quick fix thinking is the default when there is too much pressure and they feel attacked. They no longer use their slow effortful reflective thinking. (See Daniel Kahneman - Thinking, Fast and Slow) This approach has parallels in evolutionary biology, in which a central issue is the ability to adapt to changing environments. Competency - over-competitiveness in management causes chaos which STOPS hierarchies of competence. (Insert video clips of Sapolsky on Chaos vs Reductionism etc. timestamps linked). Fascists try to reduce variability in culture and outcomes - causes weakness of less adaptability - because as Sapolsky explains, the variability is not just noise in that type of system CAS (Complex Adaptive Systems) - the variability IS the system. It is fractal and scale free. The noise and variability is an intrinsic part of the system. But the system doesn’t function properly when the agreed-upon parameters that individuals believe to be true aren’t universal enough to have any form of group coherence. Birds and swarms of animals can produce amazing complex phenomena, which are greater than the sum of their individual parts. There is a “network effect” once a certain threshold and certain conditions and rules are met. These rules can be very simple, like repulsion or attraction, or staying a certain distance apart while traveling in a similar direction, but collectively they create patterns that emerge with complexity and I dear say, a certain amount of beauty. So what happens when millions of people are being brainwashed and misled by cults that are leaving them with a reduced ability to make decisions? Giving them shit-for-brains just so that some rich people at the top can pay a few percentage less tax? That is the sign of a deeply sick system that cannot continue to function effectively. It is sick on so many levels.
Emergence, Complexity and Human Evolution - A Social-Biological Analysis
The problem with viewing the world through only one lens of analysis (or bucket of knowledge) is that you can fall into unnecessarily reductive thinking. (Sapolsky clips) I describe myself as a philosophical anarchist. Which does NOT mean I want total chaos and disorder - it means I want the optimal solution to emerge - including the influences and experiences from the bottom-up. I also think that a bottom-up (or anarchist) lens of analysis is necessary for society to run cohesively in an optimal state. If it is repressed it distorts the overall picture of reality for everyone - similar to a CEO that doesn’t listen to employees and workers on the ground. I interpret as constantly holding authority to account - to justify its existence and reason for dominating others. I also believe it is every citizen's responsibility to hold authority to account. This would be necessary under ANY economic system or society. Anarchists also believe in stigmenric, rhizomatic action to make the world better, organically, not from a top-down authority, which fascism seeks to instill on society. Human beings are collectively parts of a bigger chaotic but stable system known as a CAS (Complex Adaptive System). CAS’s are chaotic systems that can reach periodic steady states of equilibrium. As Professor Sapolsky explains, humans uniquely exist with a mixture of both communal and individualistic tendencies; known in the scientific world as Tournament vs. pair bonding. All the evidence suggests that this tendency has greatly improved our success as a species. But those tendencies distorted too far one way or another lead to pathologies and the worst collective misdeeds and wars. Because as Professor Sapolsky also explains in his brilliant lecture series (which I have condensed the pertinent parts of into a 4 part YouTube video) about CAS; the signals coming from the randomness is being suppressed or repressed, it interferes with the functioning of the system. Pressure in the system makes the patterns more complex but at a certain point of increasing pressure in the complex system, it stops being linear and the doubling of patterns and periodicity totally stops. Order completely begins to break down because of the butterfly effect. Fascist regimes fettishise order and rigidity but in a complex adaptive system, the noise IS the phenomena, not a byproduct to be discarded, ignored or repressed. The majority of people on the right genuinely want to help society by bringing order, using top-down draconian measures if necessary. Whereas the left generally wants to help society by proactively building from the bottom up. I think both of these approaches are necessary to be balanced properly for a healthy functioning society to emerge. It seems our tendency to harness both traits and to focus intently on one or the other is our greatest collective strength, while also being our greatest weakness. And similarly, on an individual level I believe our greatest strengths and weakness are the fact that our brains work efficiently by categorising information to filter out the unimportant bits that slow us down. As the book by Daniel Kahneman - Thinking, Fast and Slow, brilliantly explains, slow deliberate, consideration thinking takes energy and time, so our brains developed filters which come out as biases. This is an inherent weakness of the human brain. Now imagine the butterfly effect on the life of just one person who is influenced by the brainworms of QAnon cults or conspiracies which distorts their internal models of the world which they use to filter information about the world The sad and shocking stories on forums like QanonCasualties show the devastating effects on their close friends, family and work life - amplified by their ever increasingly disconnected lives. (insert Flat earther clip - zoom in on idiot rolling head) Now scale that up to the level of a whole of a society, a country, or the world? This is a collective madness to cope with and avoid the reality facing us as a species. Only collective action with agreed basic facts to work from will do to avoid the total descent into actual chaos and destruction.
TLDR; Conclusion and Final Thoughts
In this essay I will have put forward the case for the following four key arguments being true and I have present supporting evidence to explain the logical reasoning for why our current definitions need updating and the threat levels reassed, from a non-hysterical but critical perspective. The overall claims I made are:
Modern Fascism has taken over right-wing populism and bears all the hallmarks of early 20th Century Fascist ideologies.
The ideology has two main reasons to exist, and two distinct audiences which both have a symbiotic, pathological relationship with each other.
The main flaws and weaknesses of fascist ideology remain the same as ever - that fascism is motivated by irrational fears, greed and self deception.
Modern Fascism has major unforeseen damaging consequences for individuals, governments, organisational dynamics, and society at large.
This reality is something I think a lot of fascists, ultra-nationalists and people who have been influenced by the propaganda know deep down on some level already - that they are avoiding the realities of pandemics and ecological harms of ignoring science and reality as it is. They ignore it because fantasies are simpler to understand. And a narrative based on fear of the other is a simpler way to to process a complex world. It is also attractive to the part of us that is drawn to conflict and drama - that hunger for something genuinely interesting to happen. But I would argue from my experience that the beautiful complexity of life in all it’s shades of grey is much more interesting, fun and genuinely fulfilling to understand and engage in, even if it might be harder to deal with and even harder to explain. I believe doing so is also vital for the very survival of our species - we can no longer afford to live in a fantasy, we need to collectively take responsibility for the world as it exists in reality. Thank you to my two Patrons: Carmen Jongepier E.V. Roske Original Script on Patreon
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency developed in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto, the name given to the unknown creator (or creators) of this virtual currency.Transactions are recorded in a blockchain, which ... Bitcoin price fluctuates so much because it is still in development phase and nascent stage. There are many news and rumours around the legality of bitcoins. Common man is getting to know about bitcoin and thinking about investing in it. There are... The question on many buyers’ minds before investing in the digital currency in how its value is set so that they can better identify when a change is coming. Since its initial release, one BTC has risen in value from a measly six cents to currently selling at more than 6000 dollars. In its first year of business, Bitcoin had already achieved a price of 1000 dollars, and it has never dropped ... An ever-growing data set causes smaller hard drives to fill up quickly. Furthermore, a new wallet can’t be used until the full block chain is downloaded and processed, which can take several hours on mid-range equipment. These problems can be solved by moving and copying Bitcoin Core’s data directory. This article describes two approaches ... Causes of bitcoin volatility. If you want to know what makes the value of bitcoin so volatile read on. Many experts at https://bitcoin-rejoin.com suggest that knowing the causes of volatility can ...
US Attack On Iran Causes Bitcoin to SURGE to $8,300?
Robert Cole, with Adrain Boorman, discusses what causes too much change and the vicious circle it produces in organisations. In the first episode of "the bit," FundStrat Global Advisor co-founder Tom Lee explains different methodologies for valuing bitcoin. Lee shares his short-ter... After the attack on Iran, the price of Bitcoin suddenly surged to $8,300. In today's video we do our usual technical analysis as well as talk about possible short term and long term ramifications ... Start trading Bitcoin and cryptocurrency here: http://bit.ly/2Vptr2X Bitcoin is the first decentralized digital currency. All Bitcoin transactions are docume... View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/what-gives-a-dollar-bill-its-value-doug-levinson The value of money is determined by how much (or how little) of ...