The 42coin saga

It's worth following altcoins a little bit (npi) not just because of the experiments in technology but also because of the experiments in human psychology.  Here's a review of what I learned from 42coin.

I was attracted to 42coin because I'm a numerologist and sure I like Douglas Adams too, but mostly just because I am a coin collector.  Back in the day I kept a couple dozen or so blockchains on my laptop.

So anyway, 42 is described as a "limited supply" coin, with "only 42 to ever be released".  Of course the absolute number of total coins, be it 42 or 21 million, matters not in the least.  That is just a gimmick.  But who cares?  It's fun right?  If you have to pick a number, pick a fun one.

So I went and placed an order with some pocket change and sure enough the price dropped to 42 BTC and my order was filled.  Being a gambler I placed some sell orders as well, and sold most of my stash at 84 a bit later.  Then I bought a bit more at 4.2, and finally dumped the rest at about 6 if I recall correctly.

So the interesting bit came when I actually looked at the code.  Typically the first thing I do when checking out a BTC clone is to look in main.cpp and search for the word "subsidy", to check out the economics.  The function "getBlockValue" determines the coinbase reward and hence the money supply.  What I saw surprised me: the reward was set to be 0.00042 per block, forever.  In other words, no limited supply.  No cap at 42!

I went over to the forums and sure enough, some other folks had noticed this too.  Because I was fresh from designing woodcoin, I spent an hour or two writing a nice solution for 42, which slowly reduced the reward to ensure there would never be more than 42 coins.  Just for lolz of course.

So, I submitted my pull request and went back to the forum.  Guess what?  The guy who ran the code repo on github thought ~I~ was the coin developer, and had no idea what was going on.  Read his comments there for a laugh.  A couple other folks on the forum also thought I was the coin developer (apparently a guy called Hendo), who were angry at me for running a scamcoin.  Lol right?  Well, there are pages of comments, pools, and people trading this coin.  Surely somebody will care?  In the end, one pool operator (thanks mate, you are remembered) ran my code for a day or so and gave up.  In the end nobody was interested in a smoothly reducing supply curve.  This was Nov. 2014.

So, fast forward to July 2015.  41.9 coins in circulation.  What is going to happen here? There are still pools for this thing, people trading it.  A market cap of 150 BTC or so.  Surely somebody will care to try to cap the supply.  Right?

Wrong.  It appears that nobody has mined even a single block of capped 42coin as it was described in all the literature that mentions it.  As one poster put it:

Honestly - do you really think people cared about the whole 42 coin cap thing?  Quite the gimmick, like so many alt coins.

Well, I for one think it's kind of important.  The 21 million cap is kind of important too.  The money supply is kind of important to economics really, supply and demand remember?  And you know: we will be having this discussion on mainnet.  If the miners decide, and they are zombies, they probably will just keep taking the reward.  It's a potential fork any time there is a different idea about what the coinbase reward should be.

So I had this scenario in my head where the biggest 42coin holders would bring out their coin, dump it on Cryptsy on the chain that has now passed 42 coins total, keeping their coin on the capped 42 chain.  Because in the end, it's the market that will make or break this kind of fork.

Of course this scenario assumes that there are people who actually care about the coin.  In our current discussion, that is not the case.  Miners mined, craptsy crapped, and people went on saying "oh 42, so valuable".  Well, not really.  As the number of outstanding coins on the chain everybody sat on went past 42, the price dropped by yet another 50% or so.  So, watch the zombie stumble off and enjoy the show.

On a more interesting note, I saw 42s all over the place as we reached 42 coins in circulation.  Prices, times.. everywhere.  Then later I started noticing the 43s.  It's a sign.

On neoteny and retardation in homos

This post is going to prove to you the following hypotheses:

1) The physical world is retarded
2) The homo sapien is the most retarded animal
3) The homo sapien displays behavioral neoteny

1)

This one is quite easy for the student of electromagnetism.  The physical world (at least our conception of it) being structured largely with the concepts of extension and duration, aka distance and time, is thus by definition structured with electromagnetism and light.  The implications of this are widely referred to as "special relativity".  The wave equations describing the propagation of electromagnetic disturbances aka light admit two families of solutions, which go by the names "retarded" and "advanced".  To put it simply, all the light we observe (be it by the nature of our observing platform or otherwise), is of the former camp.  Light diverges from sources and not the other way around.  So yeah, the world is retarded.  Information takes a while to reach you and is less clear for taking the time to do so.  Your image of the world is delayed and you will never catch up.  Lame huh?  Them's the breaks, get used to it.

2)

This one is quite easy for the current parent (please note: no elided "genetic" is implied here).  In this case the hypothesis posits a relative retardation.  There is no a priori reason why an animal learning the standard method of locomotion in one revolution of the Earth about the Sun should be considered slow, but it is amazingly slow in comparison to most of our brethren in kingdom animalia.  The current parent has probably been advised by well-meaning passers that "They grow up so fast".  Well, no, pointedly we do not grow up fast - at least in comparison to any other animals.  What the well-meaning passers are saying politely is that we are all going to die and life is but a passing instant, enjoy the moments for they all pass.  Correct them next time.

It is worth noting and somewhat ironic that it is the retardation of our neural development which in part enables us such amazing feats of mental gymnastics.  If we had to produce all wetware programs that we run in the first few days post conception, our abilities would be rather limited.  This is kinda one of those tortoise and hare issues ya see.  Because we are slow to develop, we have more time to learn.  And we wind up better for it in many ways.

A passing galactic hitchhiker from Andromeda for example might be offered two creatures to take home as a pet.  A one month old chimpanzee and a one month old homo sapien.  One might forgive the hitchhiker for choosing the chimp based solely on intelligence.  Developmentally, the chimp is quicker.  In fact all animals are.  With reference to our first hypothesis Einstein famously quipped that most people understand things like distance and time very quickly in pre-school, and that he was much slower.  The result is clear: he kept at it and wound up with a better understanding than most.  Humans are developmentally retarded, and it allows incredible brilliance to emerge, provided the development continues.  Sometimes the word "retarded" is used to indicate not just a slow-down but a full stop (or asymptotic or harmonic stop).  In that case, well, you wind up with a developmentally locked individual.  There are important places in society for such, and places that such should stay away from, but I digress.

3)

This one is kinda a subset of the previous.  "Displaying adolescent characteristics as an adult" seems a phrase specifically crafted to describe human behavior.  Actually the word was not created for the homos, as far as I can tell.  It really is more of a clear cut term amongst animals that have more of a metamorphosis thing going on, in particular so there is physically a difference between the adult and the adolescent.  In the humans, there isn't much physical neoteny in that adolescents look structurally identical to adults.  However, behavior is where the real interest lies.

There are advantages and disadvantages to behavioral neoteny as well as different interpretations of my claim.  An obvious advantage is allowing learning to go on longer, and drastic changes to be made later in life.

The term has a sexual connotation because as homo sapiens much of the distinction of adulthood and adolescence revolves around these behaviors.  Adolescents, due to lack of experience, often have misconceptions.  Anyone who is ever upset, angry, or thusly emotional in any way solely due to any persons engaging in voluntary sexual behavior of any kind, is an adolescent.  That's a strong claim, read it again.  Note that if somebody lied to you about their sexual behavior, and then you found out the truth, the emotional response is not "solely due to sexual behavior".  It is due to being lied to or whatever else.  "OMG my wife fucked some guy!  I'm gonna go be a violent dumbass!"  Who cares?  Grow up.  Healthy grown primates have sex every day, adult ones are never upset by it.  Interested, yes.  Curious, yes.  Jealous, yes.  But angry?  Upset?  Adolescent behavior pure and simple.  A good use for the word "neoteny".  "Oh but we had an agreement where she swore she would pick me up at the hospital and she didn't show because she was banging the garedener!"  Well that is something different.  It doesn't matter if she was banging the gardener or watching a soap opera, in terms of whether you got picked up at the hospital or not.  This is a good place to observe neoteny, as you can see clearly this sort of behavior exhibited by all sorts of prominent would-be "adults".

You know, I had no intention of getting into that argument at the start of this.  Perhaps my behavior is showing a tendency to be attracted to sexual topics.  Is that adolescent beahavior?  BTW I've heard tell some adults still drink milk, is that neoteny or what?  Cross-species neoteny even: exhibiting behavioral characteristics of immature bovines.

It may be that human behavior at one time had a clearly delineated adult stage, and was therefore not neotenous.  Most societies in which wisdom and literature were not under attack (by book-burners who never bettered the first enemy of knowledge, aka colonialists) maintained a strong ritual of adulthood, usually involving facing danger and in some way understanding the fundamental hostility of the world, amongst other important things.  From what I know the modern Bar Mitzvah or Sweet 16 ceremonies do not involve large doses of psychedelics, nor starvation, nor long periods of isolation, nor difficult physical feats.  So we are left with a population more neotenous than ever.  Them's the breaks.

 

 

The bitcoin barometer

Yeah yeah, public coin has the potential to disrupt everything, just by being a sound money not systemically controlled by criminals, etc.  Today we're going to look at another use for bitcoin.

Have you ever wondered if people are just going through the motions or if they actually understand something?  Like, a lot of people drive cars, but do they understand rapid oxidation, internal combustion, or even what an alternator does?  How about the mechanic?  I mean, just maybe, is it possible to replace an alternator without knowing much about magnetic inductance?  You see, with an established field of study, it can be hard to tell how on top of things people are.  It's easy to simply copy what others do, and pretend.  If one has the right role models in such an endeavor, one can still be quite useful.  Fake it till you make it, they say.

When something new comes around, this doesn't really work.  There aren't any Cliff's notes.  Posers can't pose something they haven't seen before.  And so we have a vital measurement apparatus for the abilities of the populace.  Are people literate, or do they just recognize the shape of the stop sign?  Do investment advisors, wall street suits, and academic economists think for themselves and really understand finance, or do they just act out well-worn rituals?

Hey presto, thanks to bitcoin, now you have an answer!  Does this or that magazine just regurgitate opinions of authorities, or do they get people to actually research things from first principles?  OK, first principles might be asking a bit much, but do they have intellectual curiosity?

Hey presto, now you have an answer!

So what is the answer?  Well, whether the answer is good news or bad news depends on your perspective.  If you thought the entire world was pretending zombies, you are going to be pleasantly surprised.  I mostly fell into this camp, and am pleasantly surprised.  There are a lot of folks who have grabbed, understood, and used public coin - and are doing their part to spread the good word.  It's fabulous to behold.  They have come out of the woodwork from all nations, all colors and creeds, all classes - showing that people can read and think!  They use public coin, rather than create the potential to be robbed by cancerous malfeasants.  However, if you thought that institutions such as universities, national corporations, publishing groups, and financial conglomerates were meritocracies, and people generally did their best to understand things, you will be sorely disappointed.  Seven years post-genesis, forty years after the discovery of asymmetric cryptography, and a lot of these folks are still prancing around performing the rituals of a century ago as if nothing happened.

Lets do a back of the envelope calculation of world literacy shall we?  Exchange commodities worldwide are valued at roughly 80 billion BTC.  Let's estimate public coin at 20 million BTC.  That means 20m/80b = 1/4000 = 1/40 % or 0.025% in public coin.  So, world cash is 99.975% illiterate.  Sounds like bad news doesn't it?  Well to be fair, markets take time to reach equilibrium, and also - literacy can exist without autonomy.  Actionable literacy is more rare than just plain literacy.  Also, psychology tells us that people flock together in herds, even if they know better.  It's not that 99.975% of money is illiterate, but that 99.975% of money has not yet proved it's literacy or is not in a position to do so.  Or something like that.  OK maybe my example needs work but you can see that we at least have a measurement, absent accuracy or precision.

In fact the bitcoin barometer works better on an anecdotal person-to-person basis.  Do you have the same opinion of the Economist magazine that you had 10 years ago?  What about Paul Krugman?  What about your business partner, advisor, boss, etc.?  My guess is that all readers of this blog have learned something about some of their acquaintances by using the bitcoin barometer.  Enjoy it while it lasts, because soon it will be establishment and ritual, and the barometer will disappear.

 

Musicians: Publish a fucking address already

You've probably heard that joke about the difference between a musician and a large pizza, where the answer is that the large pizza feeds a family of three.  There should be another joke which points out that substantial amounts of coin have been traded for pizza, and not for music.

You see, nobody is the least bit surprised that musicians are total idiots when it comes to finances.  It's almost as if a trader should watch some musicians, see the financial decisions they are making, and then do the opposite.  Well in this case the trader would hold onto a few bitcoins, because musicians have by large totally missed the boat on this one.

As always, there is a cacophonous chorus of people and companies eager to jump right in and "save" the musicians, taking their usual 90% cut (minimum).  Witness this article from billboard.com, a name well known for pushing the worst music available and facilitating the wholesale ripping off of musicians.  Here's a choice quote:

In the future if an artist creates a song, it is forever stored in the blockchain via a unique ID. If even one note of that song was to be changed, a new ID would be created, so even remixes, dub plates and flips would be instantly recognizable. Money won't land in one big pot as a flat-charge to be paid out pro-rata, but distributed instantly and proportionately to each rights holder.

Bwahahaha!  If an artist creates a song, for example the sound of me laughing into my tea just now, which could be recorded in high definition audio, *it is forever stored*  in "the blockchain".  Riiigggghtttt...  Funny enough for you yet?  Well get a load of this: the money will be distributed instantly and proportionately to each "rights holder".  Got it?  Not people paying who they intend to pay, not people receiving what they charge, but money "redistributed" to "rights holders".  In this case, maybe that's the tea leaf picker?  Hey rights holders, can I see your rights just for fun?  Is that a private key you are holding onto there to prove your rights by any chance?  Hey redistributors, any of you keen on dwarves?

Anyway, the point of this piece isn't just to roast yet another dumbass eager to kiss the ass of those who claim to have profited from the work of musicians. "Rocknerd" did this well for us already. I'd also like to actually inform any musicians listening how they could get paid.  You know, as if having money made a difference to you.  Well, for those who care, here's how:

Publish a fucking bitcoin address already!

It's really that easy.  You authenticate a bitcoin address as yours, that is, by making a video of the well known parts of you stating the address clearly or putting it on your website, and we - your listeners from any corner of the globe - send you money.  You - receive all the money we send with no exception.  End of story. Notice there is not a "company" or "innovative remittance network" involved here. That's kinda the point here remember?

If you have the kind of operation where so-and-so handles the money, then get so-and-so to give you a bitcoin address so you can announce it clearly in your own voice.

Imagine for a second that you see a great street juggler.  He deserves a token of your appreciation.  However instead of putting a hat out, he puts a sign up:

Thanks for your support!  Please drive to E.Bumfuck, Ontario on Tuesday between 2 and 3 pm to make a donation, where we accept Disneyland Tickets or Hershey Park rain-date vouchers.

That's what you are doing now with your current policy to internet residents:  get monopoly funbux, get crapple malware, get credit cardz, pay itoonz.  How about, put your hat out also just in case?

Note: I am not suggesting you stop your current arrangements.  Only, that you spend a few seconds to say: Oh yeah, if any of my listeners are rich enough to hold unforgeable money, please send a token of your appreciation to 1myAddressHere8617abcd.

Asking for tips is not a crime.  If you never ask, you won't get any.  Publish or perish.

And don't expect miracles.  If nobody listens to your music, why would you get any tips?

 

 

 

Orlov's Guitar

This is the first in the "debunking collapse" installment.

So yeah, we all love Orlov.  What he says about how the USSA is kinda just like the USSR was except well, without a good satellite launch platform,  rings trueish.  And some good old fashioned the world is ending now, Seldonism, is perhaps appropriate.  The end is near!  Like, don't back off the edge of the cliff dude.

Anyway, the purpose of this post isn't to describe the shape of how whatever thing wherever is dead wood and gonna move on.  Instead we're going to look at some of the problems with the collapse theory.  In particular let's look at Stage 5 Collapse on the Orlov timeline.  Cultural collapse.  Yeah yeah, ignore your Mad Max fantasy for a minute and just think if maybe some of this could be possible.

Reading some of this stuff gives me the feeling that maybe Orlov wouldn't be able to tell Tchaikovsky from Prokofiev, know what I'm saying?  Bro, who has charms to sooth a savage breast?

Go out and hear a concert, watch people from different random backgrounds singing or playing songs together. Ideas out of their abilities in the score but hey, it works.  We have instruments, repertoires, dances, and yeah psychedelic plants to help out.  People will sing songs together through good times and bad.  This stuff is not only the cure to Orlov's fifth collapse but is the bedrock of wetware that Asciilifeform seeks in software.

I don't really see Orlovian cultural collapse on the timeline do you?  However, it's worth considering some eventualities.  It appears that there will be a last ever human performance of a Verdi opera.  Hard to wrap your mind around isn't it?  I mean, it's not like people have sat down and said "The canonical Verdi opera is one adhering to 0.5.3 specifications"..  but just like there will be a final block of bicoin mined, there will also be a last rendition of e.g. the Mozart Requiem.  So, with a bang or with a whimper?

Anyway, to make a long story short Orlov's guitar is a mythical object kept by a prepper under lock and key in case of an emergency societal collapse situation.   Mormons, please put one in your disaster storage.