fo-realz-woodcoin

Some of you may be aware of a project called "therealbitcoin" and some of its development history.  Over the last few days I forked the project, dropped in the woodcoin genesis block, genesis merkle root, the skein woodcutting algorithm, the logarithmic supply curve, the relevant difficulty adjust parameters, and the magic header code:

unsigned char pchMessageStart[4] = { 0xfc, 0xd9, 0xb7, 0xdd };

and oh yeah the address prefix (crap there's always something to forget),

and by glum the thing works!  Syncs the whole woodcoin chain and behaves like a normal node on the network.  Even chops wood.  Cool eh?

The thing runs slower than other woodcoin clients in syncing and chopping and also is missing a lot of important RPC commands, but the process has been educative and this will be useful to have.

I stuck it on a github repo, which includes a tarball of the code with detached signature.  You can also grab it as a vpatch with seal if you like.  You might see some nodes reporting version 77777; that's what it will claim to be if you run it without modification.

Enjoy!

Rationalizing Copyrasty

So you're probably thinking, why on God's green Earth would anybody want to rationalize such a depraved and deplorable activity as copyrasty?  Surely those who claim to own a number or claim the right to forbid people from trading things in mutual consent, are parasitic imbeciles dragging back humanity.  Well, yes, of course.

That being said, we should also acknowledge that every thing in life has its purpose and its reason.

Cause just like a tree planted - planted by the rivers of water
That bringeth forth fruits - bringeth forth fruits in due season;
Everything in life got its purpose,
Find its reason in every season.

So, while we acknowledge that orcs attacking people "because they copied" is always indication of the orcs' stupidity, unhappiness, and low self esteem, we also acknowledge that there ain't no shoulda to an empiricist.

Blah blah, what an elaborate introduction for such a simple concept that really should be introduced Socratically:

1)  Are there people who might listen to the copyrasts and stop trying to share culture, information, and progress humanity?  You know, cause it's illegal and stuff?

2)  What kind of people in general might these copyrast-listeners be?

3)  What kind of cultural, scientific, and literary items might these kind of people be trying to share?

4)  Do we really want this kind of material shared in the first place?
So there you have it in a nutshell.  Anyone easily dissuaded by copyrasts probably wasn't really contributing anyway.  "I better not put this New Kids on the Block album in my C:/Shared directory, that would be illegal".

It's not a lot to go with, certainly it cannot outweigh the negatives produced by the copyrasts, but it's something.  There is slightly less garbage out there, thanks to those orcs.  Don't let it slow your arrows, your torrents, or your warez one little bit.

It's your ethical duty to keep alive the things you wish to keep alive, like for example (perhaps) your physical body.  This also includes those elements of the noosphere you wish to keep alive.  Literature, music, software, technology, language, art, etc.  Is there something worth protecting?  Share it, teach it, or it dies.  Get to work.

Or don't, because it's illegal.  You decide.

鸡是亚洲的鸟

<funkenstein_> the "china likes litecoin" story doesn't get much airplay
<funkenstein_> 中国喜欢莱特币
<funkenstein_> instead it's always "volume on chinese exchanges is fake"
<funkenstein_> well yeah, all volume numbers on private exchanges are suspect
<funkenstein_> and all exchanges that i know of are private
<funkenstein_> BUT STILL, check this out
<funkenstein_> use 30 day numbers, sum of exchanges on bitcoinwisdom
<funkenstein_> .calc 75000000/2000000
<funkshelper> funkenstein_: 37.5
<funkenstein_> almost 40 times as many BTC change hands for CNY than for USD
<funkenstein_> repeat for the chikun:
<funkenstein_> .calc 1700000000/7000000
<funkshelper> funkenstein_: 242.8571429
<funkenstein_> 242 times as many LTC change hands for CNY than for USD
<funkenstein_> .calc 243/37.5
<funkshelper> funkenstein_: 6.48
<funkenstein_> so LTC appears six and a half times more popular in china

This is nothing new,;it's been visible for years.  However it is getting harder to deny.

One of my favorite C sharp programs

[edit-snip snip] Anyway to make a long story short I started doing a bit of C sharp recently:

Take a close look at that key signature.  Go ahead, count them.  That's right.  Seven motherfucking sharps.  "But wait"  I hear you say.  "There's only five accidentals in an octave!".  Yeah, very observant of you.  But you will find that occasionally it is helpful to learn and try a technique before judging it.

Arguments to authority are not arguments, but sometimes the force of authority is enough to encourage us to take a closer look.  Nothing wrong with that.  In this case, the closer look is warranted.  The shit works.  Sure it could be D flat major, but it would look different.  The order that the things come, such as the first double sharps, the lack of any flats..  it works.  So lets go through it a bit.

First, seven sharps - that's one for every note.  C sharp, D sharp, E sharp (yes that's F), F sharp, G sharp, A sharp, B sharp (mm hmm).  And back to C sharp.  Pretty fucking sharp wouldn't you say?

It starts out with a lovely little exploration of 10ths.  6ths.  Shifted 3rds.  Whatever you call them.  Those most poignant of intervals, complete with rhythmic backbone.  Then shifting up a fifth to see how it sounds when starting in an offset.  Not exactly the same of course, because it can't be.  And then again, and then again.  Which one do you like best?  But then..  who ordered that?  Double sharps start to come, and modulation comes ahead of where you expect.  The noob is left saying "wait how do I install this library?!" as the transposing shifts seem to come more quickly and blur into one another.  But it turns out that these turns do in fact make sense.  Bach is the master of the turn, arriving anywhere he needs in register space with minimal work.  He brings us quickly through some difficult to chart (for this dwarf) terrain, and then back into the explorations of the 3rds.  But this time somehow we have emerged below our original figure.  So we naturally flow into and repeat the original figure.

Well I don't want to spoil it for you.  It's a nice piece.  You are left thinking about how three diminished scales fill all even-tempered space, two whole note scales do the same.  As usual things just fit.

One judge of code is how arbitrary things seem.  Could it be any other way?  If the answer is "no", then the code is good.  It's never perfect, but in the case of this programmer it is tough to find refactorings you could push through consensus, lets put it that way.  Do you think your C# code will be run in the same way a couple hundred years from now?  How many pull requests have been accepted on this project btw?  How many updates were needed?  Do you think we need a Bach foundation to pay developers to fix up some of the problems in this piece?  Get rid of some notes and refactor it in D flat major perhaps?  No way dude.  Fork Bach if you want but everyone wants the real thing.

Anyway the next prelude is in C# minor (only four sharps), and looks to be much harder.  At the same time I'm working on doing the 1st prelude in C#.  Why not?  Cya on the down stroke.

Race differences in cognitive ability - bwahahaha

Introduction

Dear reader I've been led to believe the internet loves failure.  Well I found one.  It's a big failure, so lets take it apart here for amusement.  This is not your garden variety, "walked into a wall" failure.  It is more of a "was told to go North and walked into a wall to the South and continued trying to go through wall by gnawing it with my teeth" kind of failure.  So be forewarned, this won't be a pretty sight.

First a bit of backstory.  I was trawling the usual adolescent chat rooms and was led once again down into the valley of Unqualified Reservations.  In particular this post.  Mencius is worth reading, even when he isn't attacking some of the most important issues of our day (which are all too often left aside).  Uninstalling a Cathedral is an apt title for his work, as he labors at gently getting people out of their ideological shells to take a fresh look at things.  And if we can't remove these shells and open ourselves to the idea that just maybe what we have believed is wrong, then we have no courage and are doomed to never see the truth.  But I digress.  Moldbug builds an image of Academia, or Universitania, or some-such label to describe his own image of something thusly related.  His critiques in the genre are good (and previously linked here), but sadly deteriorate on occasion into straw-man punch-em-ups.  For example in this case:

Its belief in the statistical uniformity of the human brain across all subpopulations presently living is absolute. It has put all its chips on this one.

Wait what?  I don't ever recall any academic in any field suggesting that the human brain is uniform across any subpopulation.  We are equally welcome in the cathedral, perhaps?  Well, sorta.  Anyway my purpose here is not to nitpick one of Moldbug's many ramblings.  These are what they are, we enjoy them and learn from them or move on.  In this case it was one particular phrase that caught my eye, and brought us here today:

There is plenty of evidence against human neurological uniformity.

Wait, don't click the link yet!  What do you think it will be?  What would be evidence against neurological uniformity?  How about something like this?  Clear evidence, proving the point.  It doesn't have to get uglier, but it could.  There are severe neurological deficiencies out there.  Let's face it, we can't all be Lucas Etter.  Especially not the guy who wrote The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.  His neurological nonconformity was so great he was quadraplegic, yet he wrote a fabulous book by signal-blinking with one eye.  Another place to look might be the mega-classic book The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat.  Illuminating evidence against human neurological uniformity exists in there.

So why on Earth did Mencius link that monstrosity (OK you can look now but be careful it's ugly) and not something like my examples above?  It is tempting to write it off to the man being busy and sloppy.  He certainly admits as much, and a bit of humility is necessary at the fountainhead of intellectual pursuit.  But lets give him a rather large benefit of the doubt.  Is he perhaps referring to something more subtle than differences in neurological hardware amongst the homo sampiens?  Maybe he is hinting to us that there is something more important than biological hardware, but rather where it is placed and how.

We have all enjoyed spending some time with someone who might not be the sharpest tack on the board.  Not taking one's self too seriously is a great contagious joy.  Moldbug's link shows a far worse failure: those with no wherewithal at all pretending to be something they aren't, on a mission which doesn't exist.  Wow.  The kids in the special olympics know they aren't the fastest runners on the planet.  They also know they are running and not flying spaceships.  But the authors of this "Race differences in Cognitive Ability" appear to be completely under an illusion that they are intellectuals or somehow clever.  That somebody might care.  The Lulz!  It hurts!  Dear reader, do you think that people of any race could be this retarded?  ((42 years of study have shown that it is 65% genetic, 35% environmental.))

Perhaps we can even extend Mencius' benefit of the doubt to the American Psychological Association, who published this thing in "Psychology, Public Policy, and Law".  Indeed, the article is helpful in understanding broken psychology.  Very very fucking broken psychology. Bwahaha!

Racism - A Tactic

The article appears to be written with some efforts to be racist.  It fails miserably in this regard.  To see how it isn't racist, consider the following scenario, presenting an example of classical racism.  Rather than use an example of a particular race you have heard of I will use one called a "green shirt".  As you will see it doesn't matter.  Traits don't need to be colored or even identifiable to work with the tactic of racism, but lets stick with "green shirt" for now:

Scene: Restaurant.  Owner cleaning.  Enter Thug 1 and Thug 2.

Thug 1:  Jimmy, you didn't give us our payment.

Thug 2:  Yeah Jimmy, where's our payment.

Jimmy:  It's coming guys, business hasn't been great and..

Thug 1:  You think I care what a green shirt fuck like you has to say?  Give us our payment.

Jimmy:  Huh?  It's blue.  OK ok, hold your horses, it will..

Thug 1:  (Interrupting again) You know green shirts motherfuckers all smell like dead fish.  Dead rotting fish, green shirt.  (violent gesture).

Jimmy:  It will be in your box by tomrrow at 5 PM I promise.

Thug 1:  Thats more like it.

Thug 2:  Yeah, studies have shown green shirt wearing is correlated with aquatic odors.

Thug 1:  What the fuck?  (Smacks Thug 2)

The authors of the failed article under review today play the role of Thug 2 here, in imagining a statement used as part of a tactic to be a scientific avenue of study on its own.  However not only is there not a Thug 1 that cares enough to smack them, but they also continue down the incorrect path despite continued smacking into the wall of reason.

THIRTY YEARS OF RESEARCH ON RACE DIFFERENCES IN COGNITIVE ABILITY

Wow thirty years eh?  That's a lot of research isn't it.  Bwahahaha!

The abstract is three sentences.  Let's look at the first one:

The culture-only (0% genetic–100% environmental) and the hereditarian (50% genetic – 50% environmental) models of the causes of mean Black–White differences in cognitive ability are compared and contrasted across 10 categories of evidence: the worldwide distribution of test scores, g factor of mental ability, heritability, brain size and cognitive ability, transracial adoption, racial admixture, regression, related life-history traits, human origins research, and hypothesized environmental variables.
To be honest we have already given these idiots more than enough attention, but seriously, the lulz.  What do you think a culture-only model of cognitive ability might be?  No DNA required, any piece of matter could have cognitive ability?  Yes.  Just read Plato to that petri dish and the bacteria will learn ancient greek.  Oh and what's the only other possible model: hereditarian, in which exactly half of cognitive ability is genetic.  Doesn't matter if you are alive or dead, if you have the genes you are therefore half clever.  Just put your child in a closed metal box all day, it will be exactly half as smart as it would have been with real parents.  Seriously, every part of this thing is so completely broken one doesn't know where to begin.  I haven't even touched the "10 categories of evidence" yet.  Wow nice, the number 10 is in here!  Aren't we clever!  Nurse: give J. Philippe Rushton a purple candy.
Well lets drop our shell of ideology for just a second shall we?  Maybe there is a point to this line of thinking after all.  Maybe, just consider the possibility as if it were a UFO report or something, that there are Black-White differences in cognitive ability which are worthy of study.  Believe!  Lets start there, because it appears to be a backbone of the thing.  Maybe such a thing exists.  Well let's give it a try shall we?  What could it mean?  Perhaps the authors stopped for two seconds to consider the idea, and how one would pursue study of it.  One would have to start with some concept of what is Black and what is White, or at least to put some kind of metric on the concept.  You would think such discussion would dominate such a study.  You would be wrong.  The authors don't seem to care that their machinations rest on nothing and point toward nothing.  The best they do is this passage:
The fuzziness of racial definitions does not negate their utility. To define terms, based on genetic analysis, roughly speaking, Blacks (Africans, Negroids) are those who have most of their ancestors from sub-Saharan Africa; Whites (Europeans, Caucasoids) have most of their ancestors from Europe; and East Asians (Orientals, Mongoloids) have most of their ancestors from Pacific Rim countries (Cavalli-Sforza, 2000; Cavalli-Sforza, Menozzi, & Piazza, 1994; Nei & Roychoudhury, 1993; Risch, Burchard, Ziv, & Tang, 2002).

Lol right?  This is based on genetic analysis.  A few decades after Polymerase Chain Reaction and we are up to our modern and oh-so-useful metric: "have most of their ancestors from sub-Saharan Africa".  So, lets take a massive chunk of continent, holding millions of people of remarkably diverse cultures and physical statures (and colors of skin), and call them, or rather anybody ancestral with them - a single genetic group.  OK then, nice basis for a scientific analysis there guys!  Any elementary school student capable of looking at a map can see that these guys have no axioms, no definitions - nothing with which to build a theorem or make a measurement.  Modern geneticists often argue that we all have our ancestors from sub-saharan Africa, but we don't need to go there.  I mean seriously, I was at least expecting a high school analysis of probabilistic genetic variance away from some National Geographic selected prototypical African man.  But no, not even that.  To be honest it's just as well.  Makes the whole thing more comedic to be everywhere and always incompetent.

"The fuzziness of racial definitions does not negate their utility."  The LOLs run strong here.  Utility for what guys?  Dear reader, can you guess what kind of utility is implied here without laughing?

But wait, they have measurements!  Really!  (This just gets better and better, wait for it....)  IQ!  We measured IQ in Whites!

Bwahahahahahaha!

These authors sho did fall into the mother of all tarbabies set by Brer Rabbit hisself.  IQ is a thing guys, really!  Lets measure it!  If you are unfamiliar with the terminology, there is a word for somebody who thinks their cognitive ability can be described with a scalar number: the word is "idiot".  Don't be confused however, there is such a thing as an IQ test (it could be any test really, ooh g factor sounds good lets use that) and there is also such a thing as a score on a test.  Lucas Etter got 4.9 on an IQ test.  How do you do on that test?  Personally my time is embarrassingly slow, more like 120.  Probably because I have ancestors from sub-saharan Africa ((Why sub-saharan?  Another potentially interesting topic the authors refuse to address, surprise surprise.  We can only assume it is because if you go North of the desert you get closer to the shining tower of orclandia which sees all and would be angry if we spoke poorly of it)).

OK, you really have to suspend disbelief to continue with this, so perhaps it's a nice exercise for that.  After you watch some flat-earth videos, practicing your cathedral-uninstall procedures, come back and try this one out:

1)  People are either black or white, just take that at face value.  I mean, lets ignore that the words mean different things in different places of the world, just pick one definition and move on, it doesn't matter which one to proceed.  Something about Africa or if you like choose another place, preferably one you know nothing about.  Heck you could even use epidermal albedo I suppose even though these authors never mention it.

2)  Now lets assume there is such a thing as a scalar IQ.  Just pick some definition, a test battery or average or something, SATs or whatever, and move on.  It's a thing, it's real, one can measure it with tests and it's not even important what those tests are, we're not going to mention them here.  People wrote about it, it's real.  Lets move on.

3)  With me so far?  Impressive.  Very impressive.  Now: lets somehow assume that those IQ tests (defined as in number 2) when applied to the criteria of black-whiteness (as defined in number 1) leave a bias or correlation and that this bias might conceivably be of some (unspecified) interest to a literate person.

Can you get there?  I can't.  The thing just breaks irretrievably at this point and the pretend house of cards falls down in a big pile of rofl.  Who gives a flying fuck guys?  Even if your logic wasn't laughably broken every step of the way, what are you trying to do here?  Why?  Even if it were a well written scientific study, this is at best a statistical curiosity.  "Brontosaurses are small on one end, big in the middle, and small on the other end".  Yeah so?

If cognitive ability were of concern for whatever reason, lets say in helping your daughter pick a husband, then you would consider cognitive ability.  You might be interested to read about different kinds of IQ tests or g-factor tests, whatever.  SATs, musical aptitude, literary knowledge: all of interest.  However IQ tests are in fact different tests than Blackness-Whiteness tests, even these authors concede this.  So why would you care about some correlation of these two tests, even if they weren't both so broken conceptually?

Conversely, suppose blackness-whiteness, or degree of ancestry from sub-saharan africa, were for some reason a concern.  You need an actor to play a Dagon priest in a movie about the discovery of the Sirius multistellar system, for example.  Better look the part.  Or maybe leucitic and albino people instinctively scare the shit out of you.  Perhaps black people scare your dog.  How could the supposed correlation of 1) and 2), even if presented in a logical fashion, be of interest to you?  It couldn't possibly.

There is no use-case presented for this work.  Perhaps a pedagogical concern in parenting techniques or school systems?  Nope, not mentioned.  There is simply no motivation considered to even pursue the topic, other than what appears to be the authors' total misunderstanding and inability to think.  But they sure did a bad job of it anyway!

Bwahahaha!

Maybe you don't like the guy down the street and want to rob him?  Then go do it already.  Lock him up, if you have the uniform and the motivation.  One doesn't be an asshole by writing a paper on the benefit of fisticuffs.  I mean can you imagine:

Police 1: "Get your black ass on the floor.  Give me your wallet."

Police 2: "Excuse me, I believe you have sub-saharan ancestry and this means you have a mean IQ 1.1 standard deviations lower than test groups with pacific-rim ancestry.  Take a look at this plot from Rushton and Jensen, 2005 please sir."

No, that's not how it works.  Racism and various other techniques of assholery don't give a shit about scientific inquiry, broken or not.  You notice I'm not saying here that racism is always bad.  Sometimes you might want to play the race card for whatever reason.  But if you are doing so: play it.  Don't talk about it endlessly, uselessly, and without thought and then - not play it.  What a gross waste of time that would be.

Denial of any genetic component in human variation, including between groups, is not only poor science, it is likely to be injurious both to unique individuals and to the complex structure of societies.
Nice conclusion guys.  Well, yeah.  At least we have a factual statement somewhere in here, even if it has nothing to do with the title or abstract.  We shouldn't deny physical fact!  There, thirty years weren't down the drain after all.  This might be a nice lead-in to a racist statement, but where is it?  Perhaps even a statement addressing race differences in cognitive ability would be appropriate here.  Where is that?  Nowhere.  Fail.

Just LoL right?  The sad thing is that there are some 65 or so references listed.  All of these appear to be people in some way concerned with intelligence.  All of them appear to have wasted time they could have spent doing puzzles with some kids, apparently wishing they had the balls to actually be racist.  Idiots.  Seriously have you ever seen a more embarrassingly idiotic and broken document masquerading as a scientific paper?  If so I would like to know about it, as a collector.  Well this is likely the most attention that heaping pile of garbage has ever received.  Enough already, I'm sure you have more important things to do.

msats per joule

So how much for your energy?

Well down the road they are selling me hydrocarbons for burning at a price of

$~6mBTC = 1 Gallon Gasoline = 120MJ =33kWh$ [1]

Simple enough wouldn't you say?

$1J = 6*10^5/1.2*10^8 = 5*10^{-3} sat$ [2]

So a Joule is a unit of energy equal to 5 millisatoshi.

OK now let's go look at ASICs for two seconds:

SP35 - Yukon Power  0.66W/GH/s

Network is at half an EH/s, so

$\frac {1 GH/s} {0.5 EH/s} = \frac {1*10^9} {0.5*10^{18}} = 2*10^{-9}$ [3]

1GH/s should be 2*10^-9 of network.

SP35 Expected Earnings per second E, burning 1 W (1 J/s):

$E=\frac {25*10^8 sat}{10*60 sec} * \frac {1} {0.66} * 2*10^{-9} = 0.013 sat / sec$ [4]

Hmm..  13 millisatoshi per Joule now.

Well I don't know about you but I am rather shocked how well that worked out.  There must be some mistake.

Looking to efficiency of generators, we see that some portable gas generators get 6 kwH / Gallon.  That's roughly 20% efficiency.  20% of 13 is close to 3 msat/J, So portable gas generators powering Spondoolies boxes lose money (energy) since we're paying 5 msat/J for the gas.  To be expected I suppose.

Anyway lets keep an eye on the millisatoshi per joule conversion factor.  It's interesting for a couple reasons.

$P = 1kg*c^2 J * 5*10^{-3} sat/J = 4.5MBTC$

Yup, E=mc^2 and there's 4.5 million bitcoins worth of energy in every kilogram of matter.

How do we expect this to change?  Well if we take a look at equation 4, one obvious factor that might change is the block reward.  Probably gonna drop isn't it.  If we ignore fees, we see the price per joule is going to double every four years.  The other thing that could change is the hash rate.  Hash rate goes up, msat per joule goes down.  Miner efficiency is also important of course.  Increase GH/Joule, decrease Joule per millisat.  [Edit: remember bitcoin is backed by hash.]

In other news, Sol continues to dump energy on the open market, to the tune of 1000 Watts per square meter.  That's 1000 Joules per second per square meter.  That's 5 satoshi per square meter per second.

Got an acre of sunlit land at sea level handy?  I´ll spare you the algebra this time but you should be making 2.5 BTC per hour or so from this.

Challenge Question:

At 5 msat per Joule how much area would it take to collect enough solar energy to earn a full bitcoin in a year?

Bitcoin is AI some more

Special thanks to Travis Patron of Diginomics for expressing an interest in my “Bitcoin is AI” article and soliciting this response.  This gives me an opportunity to expand further on my vision of proof of work consensus networks as a breakthrough in artificial intelligence research.

I must also begin with a mea culpa.  In the tradition of many great thinkers of our era, this article represents ideas.  That is, it is nearly worthless.  What we really need are implementations.  There are so many examples of this, it is hard to choose a good one.  The cryptocurrency space itself consisted of mostly ideas, for about 30 years, until Satoshi published an actual implementation.  Sidechains, smart contracts, payment channels, decentralized markets, freedom... the list goes on and on.  While it is easy to complain about this plethora of smart folks exploring the noosphere without producing something real, one can also see the motivation.  One hopes that the reader will be a hero, see what needs to be done, and do it.  Are you that hero?  Then I speak to you.  Otherwise, this article only serves as an intellectual exercise for you and a chance for me to organize my thoughts on the topic before further action.  Mea culpa.

What does a blockchain learn?

My claim that unpredictability is a sign of intelligence is not entirely convincing, unless one can show learning.  The bitcoin network learns only one thing: what it needs the difficulty to be.  If the blocks start coming more slowly, it learns that the difficulty needs to go up.  As I pointed out in Volume I, this kind of learning is somewhat more advanced than the learning displayed by a weathervane who adjusts it's position to minimize air resistance, but perhaps less advanced than a paramecium who has a more complex robust algorithm to access memory and adjust motion.  What we really need to see for a more advanced intelligence is metaprogramming, as well described in John Lilly's “Programming and Metaprogramming for the Human Biocomputer”.  Once a creature is writing his own software, we are starting to cook with gas.
Metaprogramming

For a block chain AI to do metaprogramming, a few things need to be in place.  For one, the code that runs the nodes needs to be in the chain itself.  Otherwise, the creature is not self contained enough to metaprogram.  The code that runs the nodes, or at least one implementation of it, needs to be stored in the block chain itself.  Further, there needs to be a way for patches, aka updates, to be added to the blockchain.  One way, for example, is for some nodes to by default try running some updates/patches.  If performance is considered through some tests to be adequate, it will continue runnning the code.  Submitted patches that become accepted by the network might receive various incentives.  This will enable, or rather be, metaprogramming.

Fortunately, the architecture of a block chain, that is a log structured database, lends itself quite well to this task.  Patches can be added to the chain as transactions, where they will be permanently stored.  Patches can contain not only parameter adjustments but also entirely knew function definitions.  They can be tested by other nodes before they are included and agreed upon.

We will also need to see specialization.  A single kind of node was the way bitcoin began, similar perhaps to the way a single cell is the beginning of a human life.  However now there are many kinds of bitcoin nodes, and many kinds of neurons.  Large mining ops, network hubs, and exploratory SPV nodes now populate the network.  However there is very little differentiation on the protocol level.
External nodes maintaining connection are mostly grouped as “nodes” and not well labeled as certain specializations for tests, mining, or special requests.  Yes there is a textfield claiming the version and the software which nodes will report, but this remains untested by the network at large and of minor import (contrary to some claims otherwise).

Nodes could maintain identities and participate in webs of trust, and maintain types of memory accessible by other nodes.  Groups of nodes could even hold balances in external coin securely out of reach of their operators (that's us building these boxes).  Distress signals could be agreed upon and actions taken via APIs which interact with wetware.  Some nodes could exist solely for acting as intermediaries between different chains.

In addition to multiple-chain structures, and multiple node definitions, intelligent consensus networks could employ different types of blocks on a single chain.

If this isn't enough freedom for you to tinker in a nascent neural network, consider that you could also employ techniques of genetic algorithms.  Consider for example that the solving of a super-block of very low probability and high requirement of node credentials could trigger a dissolution of certain portions of your network.  Nodes in this portion would drop the entire chain and continue on a different port building on a new genesis block, using code taken from merges of some parent networks.  In this way, networks could spawn processes with some autonomy as separate chains.

Saturn's children, here we come.  Yeah well the truth is I don't believe any of these scenarios will play out exactly as I have suggested, but I do hope you see the potential here.  Please tell any AI researchers you happen to know where the real action is.

Lets be totally clear here.  Assembling sensory input and deciding a consensus course of action is the seat of consciousness.  Cryptographic proof of work consensus allows this kind of coalescing to occur.  Now get out there and build me some planetary AIs.

Descent from Mt. Fiat

Descent from Mt. Fiat - Via Market Arrete
(Class IV, WI3, 8-20 years, full rack)

If you've been a high mountain beak bagger, you know the drill.  You look around, you take a few pictures.  Yes, this was your goal.  But what are you doing here really?  This is a dangerous place to hang out.  The way down is often more dangerous than the way up (just glance through any issue of "Accidents in North American Mountaineering" if you doubt this), and the clock is a-ticking.  The summit is that place in which your desires quickly change: from "go up" to "go down".  Lets GTFOOH shall we?

The summit

There are many different kinds of summits of course.  Every one is unique.  There are some in which the summit is the top of the difficult bit.  Nobody climbs "The Nose" and doesn't think they topped out once they are standing atop El Cap, even though there is higher terrain nearby.  Others have a clear high point which one is tempted to stand upon.  Mt. Fiat is more of the former type, but appears as a shield volcano - it's been a long trudge and never does the summit appear clearly before us.  The summit is not clearly demarcated, nor is there a summit logbook or flagpole.  However you generally know you reached it by the scent in the air and by your sudden urge to start down.

First, make sure you enjoy the amazing place which you have worked so hard to arrive (well, you and the other generations in your party).  The thick smog is mostly pollution, but also disinformation, and those jagged peaks you see around are construction cranes, the Chinese national bird.  Treeline is far below..  up here is pavement, and large empty buildings.  Break out the champagne and the cocaine because this is it.  Enjoy it!

The descent - overview

Like any mountain, there are many ways down.  We will describe the easiest route - the market arrete.  This arrete is a standard knife blade arrete, but is quite treacherous in places.  You are likely to encounter unstable cornices and the exposure is at times dizzying.  There will be many safe places to camp, so don't be in too much of a rush.  Remember, while one is generally safer spending less time on the mountain, the very thing we are trying to avoid is a "too fast" descent.  Tumbling a thousand meters down a scree slope will get you down quickly but isn't recommended.  Glissading is strongly discouraged anywhere on this route.

Unfortunately the main danger on this route is subjective, caused by the popularity of the route.  Large roped parties are common and with them comes the usual problem of dislodged rocks, falling climbers, and decisions such as what to do when one comes upon injured or disabled climbers.  These decisions are outside the scope of this guide but one is advised to read other literature on the topic and be ready with contingency plans.

Most people attempt this descent when roped in extremely large parties, hoping for safety in numbers.  This works until it doesn't, at which point catastrophe ensues.  My personal preference in the mountains is small teams of two or three roped together, allowing quick responses and more nimble movements.  Extremely confident climbers will prefer to solo as in this case their safety is never directly compromised by the skills of another.  However the uncertain terrain and corniced arrete makes this approach unadviseable for much of the route.  Further, the length of the route lends itself to large parties of diverse technical skills.

The Arrete Itself

While it might not always be obvious from the climber's perspective, from the air the geography is clear.  On the south, giant gaping cliffs lead into Italy: the massive verglassed sheer walls of hyperinflation.  To the north, the dropoff is also impressive.  The cliffs might not be quite as steep but they are just as dangerous, as deflation buttress and other faces lead down into Switzerland.  The climbers goal is to descend in an Easterly direction, straddling this arrete, avoiding a fall on either side.  One wishes to trade the thin Mt. Fiat air for stable grounded sound money in a controlled manner.  A false move to either side and, you'd better hope you have a competent partner to set themselves firmly on the arrete in the opposite direction to the one you have fallen.

You will see base jumpers, who have prepared a fast descent, in the form of self-sufficient farms and communities - who can simply abandon money with ease.  Unless you are so prepared, don't consider such a foolish move.  Without support you will accelerate quickly and typically in such instances the casualties are not just the one who took the first fall but also those in his or her party who have been pulled along.

In the end, a descent is a bit like returning to the surface of the ocean after a long tankless dive.  You know you will always make it up, because there is no other choice.  The only difference is, in this case, you don't want to go too fast.  Tankless divers go as fast as they can.  Mountain climbers in descent must control their speed.

So enjoy those trollboxes, those IRC moments, and indeed the remarkable views as you descend from the infamous Mt. Fiat.  Perhaps you'll get to hear the rare alpenhorn jubilee.

Personal guiding is available on request.

Don't interrupt your enemy while he's making a mistake

So, you may have heard something about various folks going around claiming they are going to ban encryption.  If you have any idea about what communication is of course, you find this extremely amusing.  Basically, these folks are standing up on podiums and saying something along the lines of:

"Hi!  I'd like to be important, but I'm not.  And on this topic which I know nothing, that's right I've never even thought about what it means let alone cracked a book about it, I would like to speak.  I'm an idiot.  Thank you very much".

That's basically how it goes.  Insomuch as we would like people to be smart, we let idiots like this fall on their face.  This way other people will know they are idiots and be sure not to pay attention to them ever again.

So far so good.  However, there comes a point at which it becomes time to speak up.  Time to turn around and push your enemy's face a bit further into the mud puddle which he has just fallen in.  We want to make it extra clear they are an idiot, especially because children's lives are at stake here.  That time is now.

You see some people wearing hats that say "Australia Government" ((don't get me wrong, they may also be dangerous, they claim to be and likely are orcs)) have published a list called the "Defense and Stategic Goods List".  Trawling through this list reveals dangerous items such as:

a.  A “symmetric algorithm” employing a key length in excess of 56 bits;

It's said that when taken together with various other regulations written by other folks with Australia Government hats, these things forbid the teaching of encryption with draconian penalties if caught.

Well to be honest with you I couldn't quite stomach going through the various DSGL documents and their clauses and exceptions ((apparently it's ok if there's a copy of the dictionary or how-to-use-gpg available for "sale" somewhere on the planet?  or maybe not?))  to verify if these rumors are true.

For the sake of argument lets just say they are.

Now these guys have just made it illegal to teach their own children English!  Isn't that great?  After all, encoding meaning into words is encryption, as all communication requires encryption.  Claude Shannon pointed this out in great detail in his mathematical theory of communication, and anyone who has ever thought about it for a moment will confirm.  And guess what: the English dictionary is more than 56 bits!  Yup, it's strong encryption.  And it really is strong too, if you've ever been trying to get around Beijing or Tokyo only speaking English you have seen.  Encryption works, sometimes even when you don't want it to.  According to this guy, the documents also call for a ban on learning how to perform arithmetic division.  Well yeah, we wouldn't want people learning that would we!  What would be next, French?  It's a gateway encryption! Best nip that in the bud, son.  Communication is for them thar terrurists.

OK so we've made it pretty clear these guys are not the sharpest bulbs in the toolchest upstairs 🙂  But lets also consider for a moment the damage this could do if somewhere, somehow, somebody took it seriously.

Consider the direction that society has been headed, technologically, with the rise of the internet and reliance on communication.  Can you imagine how hopeless our children would be if we didn't teach them as many techniques of encryption and authentication as possible?  I mean, not only languages, as many as possible, but also - authentication protocols, key management, and various essential cryptographic primitives?  Without this fundamental knowledge they would be totally lost in the world.

And these guys wanted to ban not only encryption, but teaching encryption.

Just lol.  LMFAO.  No really.

In which a couple internet conspiracy theories are debunked.

You will find these memes all over the place.  It's likely not worth our attention so let's be brief.  Here they are in an oversimplified format: "Banks controlled by Jews".  "Illuminati controls Hollywood / Music Indoostr33z".

First of all, by debunked here I mean "finally and permanently discredited" ((Do you know who I am quoting?  I am quoting the last great king.  Forty years after his death, there are people in every corner of the earth who sing his praises and their loyalty.  He passed away right around the time that public key cyrpto was first published.)) in their strong form to those in pursuit of reason.

The first one is already debunked if you don't believe there is a vast banking conspiracy, which in fact there is not necessarily a clear reason to believe, as people acting as individuals could also explain the situation we find ourselves in.  However if you think there is one, the proposal of its Jewishness is still quickly debunked by asking: "where were the Jubilees?".  Let me explain the logic to you if that's still not clear.

1) By "Jews" we mean people who ascribe to the Judaic religion and its teachings, be they Talmudic, Rabinnical, whatever.

2) Judaic teachings demand a Jubilee (forgiving of all debts public and private), for social and ecological recovery, and describe its required frequency.

3) If it exists, a vast banking conspiracy would be in a position to enact a jubilee.

4) There has been no Jubilee for 100+ years.

See what I mean?  It's not exactly a Jewish banking conspiracy, is it. ((Yeah it's tempting to mention the Israelcorp orcery and the orthodox who fight it but lets move on.))

We can quickly debunk the second bit of nonsense by simply noting "Illuminati" means "enlightened".  So, you see, the proposition about Hollywood and "the music industry" isn't exactly true is it.  The logic for you:

1) Illuminati refers to people who are enlightened, that is something along the lines of: intelligent - recognizing of their nature - seeing what is going on around them - knowing what is important - etc.  (you don't have to be currently feeling enlightened to have some idea of what the concept means)

2) Hollywood and music industry control is to some degree about promoting garbage and fooling people into believing things, exerting control over a business for financial gain, or some other such behavior.

3) Not exactly enlightened is it.  Where is the Hollywood push towards movies about the importance of saving biodiversity, free software, the work of Euler and Weyl, nutrition, and the importance of keeping our children away from moving pictures?  Look, I could be a really slow rather useless unenlightened dwarf and still I would know that enlightenment is unlikely to take the form of banality and mediocrity.  Promoting fiat currency can't possibly be enlightened my brothers.

Sure, you could once again try to argue these individual points, perhaps saying "a group of people calling themselves the Illuminati" or "a group of people who call themselves Jews under the following caveats" but whatever, there's no point in arguing with that stuff.  Just get out the way of large moving objects, don't argue with them.  My purpose here is only to make rational arguments, which have their place only in rational discussion.  Hollywood's not exactly an Illuminati conspiracy, is it.