Woodcoin Holidays

Without the "halving days" celebrated by many of the original Satoshi codebase coins, choppers and stackers might be left feeling a little left out.  Not to worry!  There are several crucial days that we can celebrate, which mark the dropping of the coinbase award past a naturally significant amount.

Here's a partial list of these holidays and the expected time of arrival.  Of course the actual moment of arrival of these moments is impossible to predict, and if variance in the difficulty continues as high as it has been for the last few months, they will be somewhat delayed.

Holiday         Event                       Expected arrival

Pi day-      Reward drops below pi LOG        in 3 days
3 day -      Reward drops below 3  LOG        in a month
e day -      Reward drops below e  LOG        72 days
2 day -      Reward drops below 2  LOG        255 days
gold day -   Reward dropbs belw phi LOG       420 days    (phi ~ 1.618)
sqrt(2) day- Reward drops below sqrt(2) LOG   543 days
1 day -      Reward drops below 1 LOG         2.6 years
gamma day -  Reward drops below gamma LOG     5.4 years   (gamma ~ 0.577)
dime day -   Reward drops below 0.1 LOG       37 years
penny day -  Reward drops below 0.01 LOG      380 years
millie day - Reward drops below 0.001 LOG     3800 years

Are there any other significant numbers I should be aware of?  Your suggested rituals will be rewarded with (of course) a bounty of LOG.

In the meantime, please do also continue the lovely tradition of pouring a sip of Dwarven ale onto the living Earth every 10,000 blocks in the memory of the kingdom of Durin.


Block-roulette address list

Hash: SHA256

The following are the bitcoin address for the 50 possible plays
on the game block-roulette.bit (block-roulette.com,  blockzz.com).

1-36 are for the numbers one through 36.

add_1 = "1bkr1WekAaCBymxdpTwsgUQzZ4t4R7kub";
add_2 = "1bkr2MDayyUuFrwd1UysYTKb6V7st5AEf";
add_3 = "1bkr3nEbkhripUYXWTRXQzdsRAS1UbfVt";
add_4 = "1bkr4RWa3ZpLifWhM5aJ1jRZb2uANS9ii";
add_5 = "1bkr5BdKJ6sxWDtMnEqSfSkiMiNfSjqvp";
add_6 = "1bkr6fFZMn7TQEmWYL45bavH1yP2KXK9c";
add_7 = "1bkr7N5v7JyRRxGdCYh3c4yEQWndwLvcF";
add_8 = "1bkr81N1rZa5yj3aDngKde8q1ax4vfPvZ";
add_9 = "1bkr9h1aFw5J94ie4E9JwV8GrFEerXu2W";
add_10 = "1br1ocDy4bLMSXt59EECDPt8zLn7ZnGkT";
add_11 = "1br11RqPD3GSp4bs9sXtGYi6TQRskn6os";
add_12 = "1br125nAdSYsuoznLcWvDqWox1fr71svQ";
add_13 = "1br13Qm8gPChbbJBJHqJzN1Ys4nLSd7u1";
add_14 = "1br14sMYRu7rogtBLaCiBizUhqN44Jv4x";
add_15 = "1br15HhcyKQfZDtxFLT5jrZtaUKoZLeqc";
add_16 = "1br167imvGUhWbuF4pYPrTfnKvc8kpCrZ";
add_17 = "1br17qTFRHjUMZe5G3TvHoV3e8msWKq2t";
add_18 = "1br18TKZHWLKrW7PjgMU3SBVPPBSxFeLm";
add_19 = "1br197YXXA3ZRjs9HeDmpiqzUhTQtC522";
add_20 = "1br2oYo8QEQA6hDRhGyNibe1Waw7CoXKd";
add_21 = "1br21covBc3faWV17ekCyL1bx7ZPvYHZN";
add_22 = "1br22bx3RvBVGUdCpsRnvS5x4JPBT2QGz";
add_23 = "1br23GsYKVyL8fUAH1WjFGbVLDQGZY4qm";
add_24 = "1br24sQNSSzf1iGce1psSDCsJ8gJixjQv";
add_25 = "1br25LLf2TbrEokqVqi8hwrWvjYB1QvE1";
add_26 = "1br26WdjVpPsYkNgKPMUA5webYrjjFHPn";
add_27 = "1br27VccHArfsn3McdT8cV9HxD2h2HJ2v";
add_28 = "1br28JudGShVwa58CRvA6B6Hj5YToLhSP";
add_29 = "1br29Ropepnb2bUte4Wx4GPbgUTFBAhMY";
add_30 = "1br3obxVN5p197XWrFe5nAifU2xaPg9pS";
add_31 = "1br31bgQ46EspXhocYnsrMXUjjxzj7ZmM";
add_32 = "1br32sGzLp3MGN95VgYw5KAtX5NFLs78k";
add_33 = "1br33AHsjpC4NY4o5rAYC6bBNvDKJKrkW";
add_34 = "1br34nUZ3Lr8FMc1tVStnZLvwURtpM3yM";
add_35 = "1br35ZHPcmANseMC2oeP3dYUQ6XjcqpuY";
add_36 = "1br36CvGMaVXwq1W2Xx14p9S75KxJBiWc";
add_37 = "1bkrR49EnxY5ZVzijkyDxaaz8fBSXhDFD";  // RED
add_38 = "1bkrBMZLrs2UAm4EJ1o5XcbNBhbo1PccB";  // BLACK
add_39 = "1brd1HJmPqRaoD18VEBZsxJQmxTACn2xk";  // 1st dozen
add_40 = "1brd2BhoRcNcG3bNgxD4s6HZ4t54PvEgb";  // 2nd dozen
add_41 = "1brd3kQZziwsJxLQ4wwDS2EmKKpyoY9y6";  // 3rd dozen
add_42 = "1bkrEcQYeaEKWM3xMxUdJCGsvsq3f84p4";  // evens
add_43 = "1bkrDb8AH8ubwfAFEQqduHx8KmKPF7Zjr";  // odd
add_44 = "1brz65aqWBTXJz8yuM7cpFYHC6vpnSSJm";  // zero
add_45 = "1brZ118uxcAqSrS6uM7pvmcuPjVGxtTaz";  // dblzero
add_46 = "1brt92anCuMxWgnWAKh2NWZnVg8ug52GM";  // 2 to 1 (1,4,7...)
add_47 = "1brt5ZdncFeUX3XGZng5PgZhEikdBnm1A";  // 2 to 1 (2,5,8...)
add_48 = "1brtViQSgznn5u3Ph3rWqBjrFA8KxqpV2";  // 2 to 1 (3,6,9...)
add_49 = "1brhGQvKn9gc4enkGfY7tQPL8kn2gWamS";  // 1st half
add_50 = "1brhfqa9ot4Zq72cPiLU4MP52mTA7egLG";  // 2nd half

Version: GnuPG v1


The Public Coin Toolbox - Episode 1- Bitcoin by hand with javascript

Abstract :  Download and verify the tools at bitaddress.org and coinb.in.  Move them to an offline computer.  Use bitcoin securely and by hand without much technical knowledge at all.

Welcome to episode one of the public coin toolbox with me your host funkenstein the dwarf.  In this episode we'll be talking about some very useful tools which are not quite the simplest.  If you are new to using public coin, you might want to try using a simple wallet program first.  Those are so easy that any elementary school student can immediately and intuitively use them.  Today we'll be covering a more intermediate level use case which is more educative and also more secure: javascript tools.  You might think of this as "bitcoin by hand" because you are going to do yourself some of the things that a wallet program does.

I am still shocked to be using javascript for some of the highest required security procedures I need to do!  The thing is, it's easy - it works - and you can do it offline.  Yes that means airgapped and in a Faraday cage if you are very paranoid.  The reason things developed like this is quite convoluted, but basically almost every computing device these days has by default a javascript interpreting browser on it.  Even though this is not what those tools were built for, we can use them to do what we need - collect, hold, and spend public coin.  We can do all this (at least the parts that touch the private keys) on a machine that is not connected to the internet.

For the purposes of this tutorial we will consider mainnet bitcoin (BTC, the first public coin) and not bother discussing other flavors of public coin.  For other flavors, these tools exist as well and the procedure is mostly unchanged.

Bitaddress.org is a great project, it has all the cryptography on one page.  No libraries are used!  You can learn quite a lot by reading the source.  It's well worthwhile to be very familiar with this stuff.  Here's a brief outline of how to do simple high level security bitcoin.

1)  Key Generation

Get bitaddress.org from the repo on github or the website itself.  Verify it with gpg signature.  In addition you likely want to test it with some test pairs you have handy, that you know are valid, when you go to generate new keys (using "wallet details" to do so).  This confirms that the thing is giving the correct public keys and addresses corresponding to the private keys.

When you load it in a browser (on your raspberry pi or whatever) it will generate a new key for you.  You don't need to use this.  Copy the generated private key and paste it in the "Wallet details" form, and press "submit".  It will give a bunch of information about the keypair.  Grab the private key in hex form from below and paste that in the "private key" field.  Now change a bunch of the digits.  Or all of them.  Roll some dice if you like.  You are making a high quality private key here, never touched by an online box, generated by real entropy, using code that you verified yourself by testing other pairs, and perhaps verifying that the code was signed by somebody that you trust.  If this offline box is in a Faraday cage, your confidence in this keypair being secret can be quite high indeed.  Cool huh?

Once you have some keypairs, save them in a text file using your favorite text editor.  They will look something like this:


(private key, public key, bitcoin address)

The associated bitcoin addresses and public keys can be made public and are ready to receive coin.  Send funds to one yourself or give your fund manager, broker, or customer the public keys.

2)  Storage

Take the file with the private keys that you generated with this method, and put it in a cold storage method of your choice.  This means you could encrypt them with a symmetric key algo like twofish (I like this one, using gpg) using a nice long password you will always remember, and copy them to several drives that you leave around in a few houses.  I like to just put them in a text file including the public keys and associated addresses as well, for convenience (those can of course be generated from the private key anyway, but if you have them already might as well save them).  Or you could print them out on paper and hide them in a few places unencrypted (safer in the event of you forgetting the password).  If these are really serious funds we are talking about, ideally this is one key out of many that control a multisignature trust.  Remember to not put plaintext private keys on an online machine, and to back them up in multiple places!

3)  Spending

You aren't going to be using this method for day to day spending, but sometimes you might want to go access these funds, to move them to a spending wallet or to sign a transaction for a multisignature fund.  What you need to do is get your private keys loaded and on screen on your offline machine.  Then you need to build a transaction to sign with them (unless you have one already from your multisignature trust manager).  Coinb.in has a great javascript tool for doing this.  Load it up in a browser and select "New Transaction".

Put in the private key you will be spending from in the "WIF (wallet input format) private key" field.  If you are making a new transaction you need to know what outputs will be inputs for your transaction.  You can get this information from any block explorer on an online machine, by searching the bitcoin address that holds the funds.  Put the transaction ID (or IDs) of the output(s) you want to spend, with the necessary information, into the fields of the new transcaction form.  Make sure you account for all the value of the inputs - anything left over will be collected by the miner as a fee.  This means you probably want to use one of your secure addresses built in step 1 as a recipient of the "change".  Once you have double checked this and all amounts, and everything looks good in the transaction, click "submit" and a signed hex transaction will appear on screen.

Now you just need to broadcast this transaction.  You can save it in a text file and move it to a USB stick, and bring that to an online machine.  Once there, you can use a service like blockchain.info ("Push raw transaction") or the online coinb.in site ("Broadcast") to publish it , or use a running bitcoin node if you have one.



Great comedy

Dwarvish humor is sometimes not so accessible to those unaccustomed to the histories and subtlety of flavors thereof.  One reliable traditional form might be referred to as "folly" though daiseachan as a comedy genre is perhaps better described as a cross between slapstick and epic tragedy.  Anyway here are three examples of great comedy in this genre:

1) The notion that an asymmetric relationship, without a base of mutual respect and equality, could be in any sense joyous.

2) The idea that any intellectual pursuit could be fruitful without being built on a foundation of humility.

3) That a petty tyrant could have any purpose in life other than to provide an image of the archetype of failure.

Whee!  Coisir ai-mênu!  Hahaha, I am literally rolling on the ground in laughter at these notions.  VERY funny stuff don't you think?  I cannot wait to return to the Misty Mountains and share this daiseachan I have learned from living with orcs and men.




The Perils of Blogging

Mea Culpa

Must every blogger have a post about blogging?  Rather predictable isn't it.  Well here's mine anyway.

Mea Culpa

Every mea culpa for a mea culpa should also have its own mea culpa.  This one doesn't. 

A blog is not just a piece of opinionated writing.  It is also not just a piece of opinionated writing which comes from a position of ignorance.  It is not just a piece of opinionated writing from a position of ignorance which does not exist in hardcopy.  A blog is a piece of opinionated writing from a position of ignorance not in hardcopy which will disappear within a decade.  Count on it!  I'm sure of it!  I'm right!

It's difficult to write your way out of this hole.  Sometimes writing a blog is an opportunity to showcase one's own ignorance, and to learn something from the process.

It might be that in this circumstance the reader's only hope to gain something from the exercise is through happenstance.  For example, it could be that you don't follow my reasoning as to why the following quote is important to blogging.  It could also be that my reasoning is broken, in how it imagines the following quote to be of great relevance to blogging.  None the less, here you are about the read this quote from Martin Schwarzschild.  Perhaps you have not encountered it before.  The original context was in discussions of stellar evolution (it's not the same guy as the eponymous radius associated with the spherically symmetric solution to the general relativistic field equations).  I find it to be very much on point for almost any human endeavor:

"If simple perfect laws uniquely rule the Universe, should not pure thought be capable of uncovering this perfect set of laws without having to lean on the crutches of tediously assembled observations?  True, the laws to be discovered may be perfect, but the human brain is not.  Left on its own it is prone to stray, as many past examples sadly prove. In fact, we have missed few chances to err until new data freshly gleaned from nature set us right again for the next steps. Thus pillars rather than crutches are the observations on which we base our theories []."
In other words, it doesn't matter who you are, if you are only thinking things through and not testing them or observing them from actions of nature, and yes that means outside your WOT and outside your comfort zone, you will go astray.  A somewhat related quote from Bruce Lee also comes to mind:
"The consciousness of self is the greatest hindrance to the proper execution of all physical action".
Here we aren't just pointing out that thinking ain't gonna cut it, but also that egotistical thinking ain't gonna cut it.  And not just ain't gonna cut it but also gonna mess it up.  This is one of the reasons to publish pseudonymously, even if not carefully so.  It helps get rid of the encumbrance and ugliness of small ego (Some people call this big ego.  What is meant is the the subject's concept of self is physically small).
These things being said, I can now counter with the observation that venturing down stray paths, and through hindrance, when done with understanding and predilection, can be a useful exercise.  If it must be done, why not the blog as a venue for such endeavors?
Well here's one reason why not: reputation.  When you leave shit lying around, people might say "Hey, he's that guy who left that shit lying around.  Why should we pay attention to him ?"  Yes, I know ad hominem is a logical fallacy, but seriously, this is a peril of instant publishing.  Proceed with caution.  In this case, my blog is named after a certain variety of fecal material.  Let's hope the roses float.

The Science Fiction Canon

Ever wonder how you got where you are?  Well, this was at one time the future.  It was molded and shaped into what is now the present.  To get a handle on this process you will need to read science fiction.  No, not the moving pictures, turn those off they won't help.

Things have changed a bit since I first was exposed to this stuff.  I'll do this roughly in the order it was pushed on me, and only hit the parts that happen to come to me immediately.

1) H. G. Wells, Ray Bradbury, Madeline L'engle (Wrinkle in Time), John Christopher (White Mountains), William Sleator (Interstellar Pig, Singularity).  Classics, I leave out most of the titles here.  I kinda group these together here because they are often read in teenage years.  If you missed them, why not go back?

2) Asimov

Foundation Trilogy.  Mandatory, introduction of Psychohistory and Foundation building.  Other Foundations, worth reading.  Robot series, good fun, probably less relevant now but still classic and required to understand modern parlance.  Dozens of other books I barely remember, all good fun.  E.g.  Currents of Space.  Highlight: End of Eternity.  Best time travel story, if you are into that genre it is mandatory.  Also notable and worthwhile science books.  I met him in an elevator once.  He said Velikovsky was often wrong, but he would always read him.  Something like that.  Sound familiar?

3) William Gibson

Wow.  The world won't recover from the release of Neuromancer for at least another century.  The other two in that series are Count Zero and Mona Lisa Overdrive.  If you have even a passing interest in cyberspace and you haven't read these a few times each already, get psyched.  This is cyberpunk.  On the strength of these I will read everything with his name on it.  He marks a transition from explanatory science fiction which Azimov was a master of, to a more open ended and requiring-stronger-imagination style.  Gibson is not going to sit down and tell you who Maas-Neotek is, what 'trodes are, or even what jacking into cyberspace means.  You just gotta move on (through the ice) and eventually figure it out for yourself.  This is kinda why it often takes a second, third, or fourth reading to get some of the subtleties.  Well to be honest, what is that stuff really?

4) Neal Stephenson

Hot on the heels of cyberpunk, the ambitions Stephenson also has made it into the mandatory mega-book category.  Snowcrash should get you started.  It's awesome.  There's a lot of material, Cryptonomicon, Diamond Age, plus the whole Quicksilver series (even if not science fiction, it is fiction that describes science, a great story which features amongst others Louis XIV, Newton, Leibniz).. The Baroque Cycle they call it?  Also short stories,  Zodiac? No way did I remember that title?  And then.. wtf is this Readme?  I personally think there is some steganographed message in here because it just doesn't seem like him.  It sucked.

5) Richard K. Morgan

Takeshi Kovacs is a remarkable character, the trilogy is: Altered Carbon, Fallen Angels and, sorry you'll have to go look them up yourself.  You have to read them to find out what double sleeving is.  Sex, violence, AI, politics, out-of-control nanotech, these books have it all and yet they are remarkably straightforward.  After these he apparently went into more fantasy writing.  I read one which was decent but not going to compare with these gems.

6) Allistair Reynolds

The genre is apparently "Space Opera".  Or maybe it's interstellar opera, I forget what they call it.  There are a whole slew of books by this genius, I loved all of them.  Imaginative but not over the top.  Even the intelligent neutron star somehow fits in there.  The cubist aliens known as the Inhibitors (which explain the Fermi paradox btw) are scary as fuck but not as bad as the green menace.  Revelation Space and Chasm City are probably enough names to get you started.  Pushing Ice is a brilliant standalone book.

7) Neal Asher

OK so this gets a bit more "pulpy" but I read all of the series.  The dragon is a one-of-a-kind character, the stories all fun.  Aliens pushing diddled tech on unsuspecting populations.  Cybernetic assassins and other exotic weaponry.  Somehow I don't remember the titles apart from "Brass Man".  You can look them up.

8) Utopian Worlds

The Dispossesed and Freehold, come right to the top in my mind in this enormous genre.  Ursula Leguin deserves much more mention than this measly blog post is going to provide (the Earthsea series is worth reading for anyone who would consider Harry Potter, not really sci fi though).  The thing is that science fiction allows people to speak truth to politics.  One is not constrained by current social pressures when telling a story a story about a fantasy world, or so the story goes.  Even Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars kinda fit in here, even though they are also well researched from a science standpoint, the story becomes political.  I might as well throw Herbert's Dune in here too, though it doesn't really belong.  Has multigenerational politics though and - worms and stillsuits.  Gotta love 'em.

9)  Charles Stross

Brilliant and disorganized.  You gotta read Accelerondo, another mandatory one sorry.  The whole series of books with the high-tech occult is also fun.  Saturn's Children is also a highlight, and its companion.  There's a lot of brilliant and unpolished ideas, almost like he were writing from fiat mordor or something, paid by the word.  I'm still working through these.

10)  Oddly shaped worlds

Ringworld, Discworld, HelixPushing Ice could go in here too.  This one goes in here mostly because I have Helix in front of me at the moment, but I haven't started it yet.

Might as well stop there, before it becomes less Canon and more Library.  Enjoy!