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Thoughts On The Market Series #1 - The New Normal?
Market Outlook: What to Make of This “New Normal”
By ****\* March 16, 2020 After an incredibly volatile week – which finished with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rallying over 9% on Friday – I suppose my readers might expect me to be quite upbeat about the markets. Unfortunately, I persist in my overall pessimistic outlook for stocks, and for the economy in general. Friday’s rally essentially negated Thursday’s sell-off, but I don’t expect it to be the start of a sustained turnaround. We’re getting a taste of that this morning, with the Dow opening down around 7%. This selloff is coming on the back of an emergency interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve of 100 basis points (to 0%-0.25%) on Sunday… along with the announcement of a new quantitative easing program of $700 billion. (I will write about this further over the next several days.) As I have been writing for many weeks, the financial bubble – which the Fed created by pumping trillions of dollars into the financial system – has popped. It will take some time for the bubble to deflate to sustainable levels. Today I’ll walk you through what’s going on in the markets and the economy… what I expect going forward and why… and what it means for us as traders. (You’ll see it’s not all bad news.)
Coronavirus’ Strain on the Global Economy
To start, let’s put things in perspective: This asset deflation was coming one way or another. Covid19 (or coronavirus) has simply accelerated the process. Major retailers are closing, tourism is getting crushed, universities and schools are sending students home, conventions, sporting events, concerts, and other public gatherings have been cancelled, banks and other financial service firms are going largely virtual, and there has been a massive loss of wealth. Restaurant data suggests that consumer demand is dropping sharply, and the global travel bans will only worsen the situation. Commercial real estate is another sector that looks particularly vulnerable. We are almost certain to see a very sharp and pronounced economic slowdown here in the United States, and elsewhere. In fact, I expect a drop of at least 5% of GDP over the next two quarters, which is quite severe by any standard. Sure, when this cycle is complete, there will be tremendous amounts of pent-up demand by consumers, but for the time being, the consumer is largely on the sidelines. Of course, the problems aren’t just in the U.S. China’s numbers look awful. In fact, the government there may have to “massage” their numbers a bit to show a positive GDP in the first quarter. Europe’s numbers will also look dreadful, and South Korea’s economy has been hit badly. All around the world, borders are being shut, all non-essential businesses are being closed, and people in multiple countries are facing a lockdown of historic proportions. The coronavirus is certainly having a powerful impact, and it looks certain that its impact will persist for a while. Consider global tourism. It added almost $9 trillion to the global economy in 2018, and roughly 320 million jobs. This market is in serious trouble. Fracking in the U.S. is another business sector that is in a desperate situation. Millions of jobs and tens of billions of loans are now in jeopardy. The derivative businesses that this sector supports will be likewise devastated as companies are forced to reduce their workforces or shut down due to the collapse in oil prices. This sector’s suffering will probably force banks to book some big losses despite attempts by the government to support this industry. In a similar way, the derivative businesses that are supported by the universities and colleges across America are going to really suffer. There are nearly 20 million students in colleges across the U.S. When they go home for spring vacation and do not return, the effect on the local businesses that colleges and university populations support will be devastating. What does this “new normal” mean going forward? Let’s take a look…
The new normal may become increasingly unpleasant for us. We need to be ready to hunker down for quite some time. Beyond that, the government needs to handle this crisis far better in the future. The level of stupidity associated with the massive throngs of people trapped in major airports yesterday, for example, was almost unimaginable. Instead of facilitating the reduction of social contact and halting the further spread of the coronavirus, the management of the crowds at the airports produced a perfect breeding ground for the spread of the virus. My guess is that more draconian travel restrictions will be implemented soon, matching to some extent the measures taken across Europe. This will in turn have a further dampening effect on economic activity in the U.S., putting more and more pressure on the Fed and the government to artificially support a rapidly weakening economy. Where does this end up? It is too early to say, but a very safe bet is that we will have some months of sharply negative growth. Too many sectors of the economy are going to take a hit to expect anything else. The Fed has already driven interest rates to zero. Will that help? Unlikely. In fact, as I mentioned at the beginning of this update, the markets are voting with a resounding NO. The businesses that are most affected by the current economic situation will still suffer. Quantitative easing is hardly a cure-all. In fact, it has been one of the reasons that we have such a mess in our markets today. The markets have become addicted to the easy money, so more of the same will have little or no impact. We will need real economic demand, not an easier monetary policy. It won’t help support tourism, for example, or the other sectors getting smashed right now. The government will need to spend at least 5% of GDP, or roughly $1 trillion, to offset the weakness I see coming. Is it surprising that the Fed and the government take emergency steps to try to stabilize economic growth? Not at all. This is essentially what they have been doing for a long time, so it is completely consistent with their playbook. Next, I would anticipate the government implementing some massive public-works and infrastructure programs over the coming months. That would be very helpful, and almost certainly quite necessary. But there’s a problem with this kind of intervention from the government…
What Happens When You Eliminate the Business Cycle
The Fed’s foolish attempt to eliminate business cycles is a significant contributing factor to the volatility we are currently experiencing. Quantitative easing is nothing more than printing lots and lots of money to support a weak economy and give the appearance of growth and prosperity. In fact, it is a devaluation of the currency’s true buying power. That in turn artificially drives up the prices of other assets, such as stocks, real estate and gold – but it does not create true wealth. That only comes with non-inflationary growth of goods and services and associated increases in economic output. Inflation is the government’s way to keep people thinking they are doing better. To that point: We have seen some traditional safe-haven assets getting destroyed during this time of risk aversion. That has certainly compounded the problems of many investors. Gold is a great example. As the stock market got violently slammed, people were forced to come up with cash to support their losing positions. Gold became a short-term source of liquidity as people sold their gold holdings in somewhat dramatic fashion. It was one of the few holdings of many people that was not dramatically under water, so people sold it. The move may have seemed perverse, particularly to people who bought gold as a safe-haven asset, but in times of crisis, all assets tend to become highly correlated, at least short term. We saw a similar thing happen with long yen exposures and long Bitcoin exposures recently. The dollar had its strongest one-day rally against the yen since November 2016 as people were forced to sell huge amounts of yen to generate liquidity. Many speculators had made some nice profits recently as the dollar dropped sharply from 112 to 101.30, but they have been forced to book whatever profits they had in this position. Again, this was due to massive losses elsewhere in their portfolios. Is the yen’s sell-off complete? If it is not complete, it is probably at least close to an attractive level for Japanese investors to start buying yen against a basket of currencies. The major supplies of yen have largely been taken off the table for now. For example, the yen had been a popular funding currency for “carry” plays. People were selling yen and buying higher-yielding currencies to earn the interest rate difference between the liability currency (yen) and the funding currency (for example, the U.S. dollar). Carry plays are very unpopular in times of great uncertainty and volatility, however, so that supply of yen will be largely gone for quite some time. Plus, the yield advantage of currencies such as the U.S. dollar, Canadian dollar, and Australian dollar versus the yen is nearly gone. In addition, at the end of the Japanese fiscal year , there is usually heavy demand for yen as Japanese corporations need to bring home a portion of their overseas holdings for balance sheet window dressing. I don’t expect that pressure to be different this year. Just as the safe-haven assets of yen and gold got aggressively sold, Bitcoin also got hammered. It was driven by a similar theme – people had big losses and they needed to produce liquidity quickly. Selling Bitcoin became one of the sources of that liquidity.
Heavy Price Deflation Ahead
Overall, there is a chance that this scenario turns into something truly ugly, with sustained price deflation across many parts of the economy. We will certainly have price deflation in many sectors, at least on a temporary basis. Why does that matter over the long term? Price deflation is the most debilitating economic development in a society that is debt-laden – like the U.S. today. Prices of assets come down… and the debt becomes progressively bigger and bigger. The balance sheet of oil company Chesapeake Energy is a classic example. It’s carrying almost $10 billion worth of debt… versus a market cap of only about $600 million. Talk about leverage! When the company had a market cap of $10 billion, that debt level didn’t appear so terrifying. Although this is an extreme example for illustrative purposes, the massive debt loads of China would seem more and more frightening if we were to sink into flat or negative growth cycles for a while. The government’s resources are already being strained, and it can artificially support only so many failing companies. The U.S. has gigantic levels of debt as well, but it has the advantage of being the world’s true hegemon, and the U.S. dollar is the world’s reserve currency. This creates a tremendous amount of leverage and power in financing its debt. The U.S. has been able to impose its will on its trading partners to trade major commodities in dollars. This has created a constant demand for the dollar that offsets, to a large extent, the massive trade deficit that the U.S. runs. For example, if a German company wants to buy oil, then it needs to hold dollars. This creates a constant demand for dollar assets. In short, the dollar’s status as the true global reserve currency is far more important than most people realize. China does not hold this advantage.
What to Do Now
In terms of how to position ourselves going forward, I strongly recommend that people continue with a defensive attitude regarding stocks. There could be a lot more downside to come. Likewise, we could see some panic selling in other asset classes. The best thing right now is to be liquid and patient, ready to pounce on special opportunities when they present themselves. For sure, there will be some exceptional opportunities, but it is too early to commit ourselves to just one industry. These opportunities could come in diverse sectors such as commercial real estate, hospitality, travel and leisure, and others. As for the forex markets, the volatility in the currencies is extreme, so we are a bit cautious. I still like the yen as a safe-haven asset. I likewise still want to sell the Australian dollar, the New Zealand dollar, and the Canadian dollar as liability currencies. Why? The Bank of Canada, the Reserve Bank of Australia, and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand have all taken aggressive steps recently, slashing interest rates. These currencies are all weak, and they will get weaker. Finding an ideal entry for a trade, however, is tricky. Therefore, we are being extra careful with our trading. We always prioritize the preservation of capital over generating profits, and we will continue with this premise. At the same time, volatility in the markets is fantastic for traders. We expect many excellent opportunities to present themselves over the coming days and weeks as prices get driven to extreme levels and mispricings appear. So stay tuned.
From Conspiracy to Fact: An analysis of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Information Control, and the New World Order (Appendix includes hundreds of citations) - PART 1
UPDATE: This article is now available as a printable PDF with embedded hyperlinks for navigation through sources. This link will be valid thru July 9: https://ufile.io/4mpkg4x6
PLEASE NOTE: This article may be updated periodically with new information and links as they become available. All referenced information and a whole lot more is indexed and linked in the relatedappendix posts.Please feel free to crosspost, share, and take from my ideas to build your own. Namaste. Part 1 | Part 2 | Appendix A | Appendix B Hello. My name is Chris. I am nobody, really. An average citizen. I am an overweight 42 year old white male from the Midwestern suburbs of the US who has been fortunate enough to live a pretty comfortable life. I used to be a freelance graphic designer with a focus on small businesses, but I'm coming to terms with the fact that that career and part of my life is more than likely over in light of current events. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. I've always been concerned about social injustice and tried to stay politically informed, even dabbling in some activism here and there. At times I've stepped away from paying attention for my own mental health, or due to laziness, defeatism, whatever. But I've never stopped caring, or trying, to fight the good fight and do the right thing. The news recently has of course swept us all up, and touched all our lives in some way or another. The world has never seen anything like the "Coronavirus Pandemic," and it's clear that our society will be changed forever when we finally come out the other end of this mess. But I've had the luxury of time recently, and in reading the news about things that were going on, I couldn't help but notice the patterns, and that a lot of stuff didn't exactly make sense. So, here we go, with the "conspiracy theory." I hate that term, because although it's technically accurate, it's been demonized and weaponized by the media and society at large to take on a bad connotation. Tinfoil hats, alien abductions, crazy people muttering to themselves, etc. You've no doubt got a lot of images in your mind of a conspiracy theorist. And make no mistake, what I'm going to tell you here is all currently very popular conspiracy theory. However, I think that by removing opinions and conjecture from it, and focusing on facts and things that have already happened, I can present this huge amount of overwhelming, disparate information in a way that makes it less a "theory" and more a "research project." And so that is how I have approached this. I have spent the last week doing little else besides reading every news and opinion article I could find, saving and organizing hundreds of links, and assembling a coherent, logical outline to organize and present these theories, and more importantly, facts. There are a lot of less-than-reputable sites and publications out there, and I have tried when at all possible to provide sources from verifiable news sites, with a wide range of slants and focuses, to illustrate that what is happening is not part of any one particular political agenda. I hope that you take the time to check the links, really look into the information presented here, and form your own opinions. Please do not just take my word for it. To that end, there are also a few links mixed in that are labeled as having come from conspiracy. These are well-written and well-reasoned posts from other concerned citizens that I think are worth reading, and relevant to the discussion here. One last thing - If you are new to most of these ideas, the information presented here is more than likely going to seem overwhelming at first. I encourage you now, and always, to take mental health breaks for yourself, and put down your phone or turn off your computer. The information will be here when you come back. And as you'll soon understand, what is happening is an unstoppable tide, truly a force of nature at this point, and there is nothing you can do to fight it, so try your hardest to relax, put on some chill music, hug your dog, and most of all... BREATHE. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - If you start researching conspiracy theory, you're going to find a lot of information. Some much better or worse presented than others, and some much more plausible or unbelievable than others. Despite the seeming ridiculousness of some things you might read, I encourage you to always approach new information with an open mind. That said though, I have one main principle that guides all my beliefs about conspiracy theories, and that is the "Filter of Likelihood." Essentially, you have to ask yourself how possible, how likely, and how feasible a piece of information is. Furthermore, you need to ask yourself what the motivation would be. In many cases, it's quite easy to see how something makes a lot of sense based on other known info, whereas some theories seem rather implausible no matter how you look at it. I am interested only in the plausible, and where possible, the already actualized. Additionally, there's a lot to be said, and a lot that has already been written on many of these topics, so I will focus on current events and simple concepts. I will also ask you to open your mind to possibility. Please consider this as you evaluate new information:
Do you believe there are things going on in the world that you don't know about yet?
Do you believe that there is technology and science you've never heard of?
Do you believe that society is progressing at an increasing rate?
Do you believe that as populations grow, we require new societal strategies?
Do you believe that those with power and money want to retain their power and money?
Of course you believe all these things, and none of these are wild or unusual concepts. Rather, these are very basic concepts that apply to everyone, and always have. They are all part of our shared human experience, and undeniable facts of life. Populations grow, societies evolve, technology advances, and the world changes. And most important to our discussion here, people, families, and empires constantly jockey for power and control, while fighting for resources, power, fame, and... MONEY. We all hate TicketMaster, right? Who do they think they are, what the hell is this bullshit "service fee," etc. It's something everyone can get behind. But did you know that TicketMaster willingly cultivates that image? That venues, teams, and artists, in their pursuit of more money, raise fees and then let TicketMaster be the bad guy and take the heat so their reputations remain intact? There are many more people, organizations, and other entities in the world playing that same role for those who really have the money, who really call the shots. And those who call the shots work very hard and spend absolutely unfathomable amounts of money, time, and blood, to make sure that you don't ever realize who's actually taking your money. They do this in the simplest, easiest way. If you simply control information from the top down, and disseminate it when and where you see fit, you can effect great societal change without lifting a finger. Please imagine... really, try to imagine... You just read an article, saw a video, whatever, from a very, very reputable source. And it just informed you that an asteroid was 83% likely to impact the Earth next month. What would you do? What would happen in the world? Hopefully an asteroid will not hit next month, but it's important to really imagine what would happen and why, and how. Because a huge amount of information would be generated and published, people would panic, society would crumble, and the world as you know it would change forever in an instant, the moment you read that headline. Control of information is one of the most powerful tools known to mankind today. A person living in 2020 can easily encounter as much information in a day as someone in Medieval times might have encountered in a lifetime. And it comes at you from all angles, in all forms, non-stop, 24/7. Much like the water in the pipe, the information is always there, and one needs but turn it on. Disseminating the information then becomes a practice all its own, and to be sure, information processing accounts for more than half of the US GDP. And the rate at which it's spread, and way it is handled makes a huge difference in the societal repercussions. So a few different techniques are used:
The "Slow Walk" - If a large, unexpected piece of information is given suddenly, people tend to react poorly and irrationally. Also known as "letting them down easily," this technique restricts the flow of information to prevent the audience from balking or being overwhelmed
The "Steady Drip" - This technique involves keeping your audience subjected to a constant stream of the desired information, so that they become accustomed to it and it becomes "normalized"
The "Firehose" - A deluge of information flying out at full blast, designed to overwhelm the audience so that they cannot focus on anything else
It might be the greatest understatement of all time to say that there has been a lot of information passed around about COVID-19, the "Coronavirus," recently. In fact, there has never been anything like what we are currently experiencing in all of human history, and not by a long shot. And this unprecedented turn of events has caused a lot of people to react in a lot of ways, and say and do a lot of things, for better or for worse. Full disclosure: In particular, if you look up conspiracy theory, you'll see a lot of stuff suggesting that the "Coronavirus is a hoax." (You'll also find a lot of poorly-written rambling) I want to be clear that I DO NOT believe that. I am 100% sure that there is a Coronavirus, that it is making people sick, that a lot of people are dying, and that our medical professionals and many other undervalued workers are overwhelmed, and breaking their backs every day to do their best to keep their friends, families, and loved ones safe. I am extraordinarily grateful for them and admire the resolve and bravery that so many have shown in the face of this disaster. I do not think it is a hoax at all. However, I think that literally everything else that is happening surrounding the "pandemic" is. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - The Pandemic In the first week of January this year, I got sick. Really sick. I know when I got it and who I got it from, and honestly the exact moment I got it (I only was in proximity of the dude for a few minutes). He had warned me that he was really sick, and I blew it off. I started feeling sick a day or two later, and a day or two after that I felt like I was dying. Fever, chills, aches, extraordinary fatigue. And literal, nonstop, 24/7 coughing. I had every single symptom of what we now know as COVID-19. I commented to anyone who would listen that I didn't recall ever feeling that sick before in my entire life. The most memorable part of it though was that after a couple days, I completely lost my sense of smell and taste. Joked a lot about how you could feed me onions and soap cause I'd have no idea. I try to have a good attitude about being sick. I spent a week sleeping on the couch before I finally went to the doctor. She gave me a Prednisolone steroid pack (which has worked well for me in the past), some Trazodone to knock me out, and Benzonatotate for my cough. As soon as I took the first dose of steroids I started to feel pretty fucking great, and it was more or less a non-issue after that. I spoke to a lot of people about it then and after, and man, I can't tell you how many stories I personally heard from people I know that said the exact same thing. Then I started reading the same story over and over again on Reddit:
We didn't start really hearing about the Coronavirus in the media until the beginning of March, and we didn't hear about the "Pandemic" until just a couple weeks ago. And what a couple weeks it's been since then. But I am quite certain that it's been around for a lot longer and that I, and a lot of other people I know, had it - and DID NOT DIE FROM IT - way back in January. We now know that the first documented case in the US was on January 19th, but that word "documented" is so, so important here. That means that we had identified the virus, developed a test, and tested a person with the symptoms that day. It does NOT mean that was when the virus reached the United States. How sick do you have to be before you take a day off work? Before you go to the doctor? With America's healthcare system or lack thereof, it's almost certain that many people had this virus before we determined what it was, and how infectious it really was. There is also the matter of the statistics of severity vs the regular flu. This is a highly contentious topic and I am no medical expert, and do not wish to make any assertions. However, what I can tell you from my personal experience is this: I had a horrible "flu" in January, got basic medicine, got better. So, either I had the flu, or perhaps I did indeed have the Coronavirus. We will never know because I was never tested. But the important thing is that it doesn't matter. Either I (and many others) had the Coronavirus and it did not kill us (calling into question the severity of the infection) or we just had a bad cold or flu, but it had the exact same symptoms as COVID-19 (calling into question the extent of Coronavirus diagnoses). But logically, one of those two statements is true. Furthermore, the data keeps changing, and I don't mean increasing on a daily basis. I mean up and down, back and forth, it is deadly or maybe it isn't, etc. On January 14 the WHO told you it couldn't spread from human to human. But then on Jan 19 we saw the first case of Coronavirus in the United States. Then it turns out that the Wuhan market outbreak began earlier in December. And then it's an "epidemic," but most people will only get mild symptoms. What are you supposed to believe? And it sure does seem to come at you as a firehose, and it's hard to even think about anything because OHMYGODTHECORONAVIRUS! But let's stop and look a couple basic facts. As a matter of fact, I'm going to let Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi explain this one to you. This is a very informative 10 minute video, watch it: Sucharit Bhakdi - Very clear math showing that the COVID statistics are being manipulated So 80% of people only experience mild symptoms, and we're crashing the economy for this? The statistics aren't any more extreme than many other illnesses we've had over time, and we're crashing the economy for this? It doesn't make sense until you consider that there are other factors besides just the virus at play. Wolfgang Wodard - Explaining how the statistics are being manipulated to cause panic The media, and society at large is inundating you with terrifying information about the Coronavirus. But if it's not as bad as we originally thought, then why? We don't freak out about every illness that comes along, and we've certainly never in the history of civilization had over 1/3 of the global population locked down under mandatory quarantine. And then there's the debate about where the virus came from. We believe it came from a meat market in China, under unsanitary conditions. The science behind a coronavirus making the leap from one species to another is well-established and researched, and it is a very likely scenario. There are also conspiracy theories that state that China released it on its people intentionally, or even that the US military released it in China. Again, we will never know exactly where this Coronavirus came from. It may be natural, it may be man made, and there are very plausible paths for both. I don't know what to believe myself. So here I ask you to make your own judgement based on likelihood. What we do know though is that the state of the world this virus has been unleashed on has played a major factor in its spread. In 1950 the global population was 2.5 billion, and that has exploded to almost 8 billion people in 2020. As a matter of fact, population growth has been exponential since about the time of the Industrial Revolution. With all these people on the planet there are sure to be many disagreements and conflicts, and there indeed have been. As a matter of fact, 2019 saw global protests on an unprecedented scale, in Hong Kong, France, Syria, and many other countries. Citizens have literally been fighting police and military with rocks, clubs, arrows, and molotov cocktails. Did you know that? Despite my seeing headlines and pictures every day of the riots in Hong Kong, I have been shocked to learn that multiple of my close friends, intelligent and aware people, had no knowledge whatsoever of the protests even existing. But that is far from a coincidence; rather, it is quite by design. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Billionaires and Coincidences Another major talking point over the last 5 to 10 years has been the "1%" - the handful of super-rich individuals who posess and control the vast majority of the Earth's wealth and resources. Where it used to just be a numerical term, "Billionaire" is now a dirty word, and one of the nastiest. We all hate billionaires. They are evil, and profit off the exploitation of the rest of the world. The "Illuminati" we call them, in pursuit of a "New World Order." Crazy stuff, right? Mysterious symbols and people in black robes doing nefarious things in secret meetings, and running the world from behind the scenes. We love the Illuminati, it's a huge pop culture thing now. The subject of endless speculation, they are made fun of in the media, movies, and now Taco Bell commercials. It's so far fetched it could never really be true. And the fact that you think that is by design as well. So, we don't know where the Coronavirus came from, but it's certainly here, and there are lot of other things unfolding in the world around it. Many different current events from all different places and fields of study. Some of it seems a little too coincidental. It is certainly very coincidental that this economically destructive Coronavirus entered the world right as there were global uprisings, protests in the street, and a growing public hatred for billionaires. Well, here are a few other coincidences: Hundreds of CEOs of major companies stepped down from their positions in recent months. Multiple US Senators sold stock right before the market crashed. Even the boss of the New York Stock Exchange sold his own stock right before the crash. Did they know something they weren't telling us? Here's another coincidence. In 2010, The Rockefeller Foundation published a selection of future-predicting scenarios in the name of "exploring the ways that technology and development could co-evolve." One of these four scenarios, entitled "Lock Step," eerily predicts a global viral pandemic and the resulting hypothetical consequences, which almost exactly mirrors the COVID-19 pandemic we are in the midst of today. Also coincidental: The first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in China on November 17th, 2019. Literally one month earlier, The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in partnership with the World Economic Forum and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation hosted Event 201, a high-level pandemic exercise on October 18, 2019, in New York, NY. In this exercise, they discuss the potential implications and consequences of a novel Coronavirus, including an economic crash, martial law, and of particular interest, the control of information. (You can view some published highlights here) The World Economic Forum is comprised of the richest of the rich. The 1%. The Billionaires. CEO's, politicians, business owners, and many other powerful and influential figures. They meet regularly to discuss topics of global concern, and strongly control the dissemination of information. And of primary concern to many of them is maintaining their wealth and power in a rapidly-changing world. And finally, here's one more coincidence: At the exact same time as the Event 201 exercise, The World Military Games was held in Wuhan, China, Oct 18-27, 2019. It was the largest military sports event ever to be held in China, with nearly 10,000 athletes from over 100 countries competing in 27 sports. Wuhan China was, as we now believe, the source of our current global COVID-19 outbreak. Whether you think it is a "conspiracy" or not, that is all certainly coincidental, to say the least. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - "Why didn't I hear about any of this?" That's an excellent question, and one that likely has multiple answers. For starters, how much do you really pay attention? Where do you get your news from? Do you research things you hear or just accept them on hearsay? Critical thinking skills are paramount in making sense of the chaos unfolding all around us. As I mentioned before, I can tell you that I personally know multiple people who had no clue whatsoever about the riots in Hong Kong last year. As you read this, you may be one of them. And it may seem like something that is happening far away, and "could never happen here." Or you may have been aware of it but just that it was happening. But please, consider for a moment: millions of average citizens risked their lives and safety in the streets of Hong Kong for months on end, fighting police and military, and transforming the city they lived in into a warzone. WHY? Why would people do something like that? Regardless of their motivations, that many people were banding together to fight for something they believed in. And that is worth considering. It's not really your fault though that you may not catch wind of all this news. The "mainstream media" that you hear about all the time deliberately controls information - downplaying threats and overreacting to silly things - in order to make sure that you hear the version of the news that they want you to hear. Did you know that only 6 corporations control 90% of the media In America? That number is reduced from 50 companies in the 80's. And literally all the news you see on TV, at the very least, is 100% owned and controlled by these companies. Lately, distrust is growing for cable news networks, and many people turn to their local hometown station for trusted news. The problem with that though is that your hometown station is probably owned by Sinclair Media, one of the most powerful broadcast networks in the country that you've never heard of. Please watch this very brief video, illustrating the chokehold that Sinclair Media maintains over your nightly local news broadcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWLjYJ4BzvI Of course, not every piece of news is pre-programmed but a lot is. The real news is out there, but sometimes you have to look a little deeper than the infographics on TV news. Even if information is being directed from the top down, the boots on the ground tend to be passionate people with a variety of interests and agendas, and they are still doing their best to do real journalism despite corporate oversight. Think of those who are directing the information as steering an impossibly massive ship with a rudder. You can slowly adjust the course of direction, however it is slow to react. If you want to stop, you have to start thinking about stopping wayyy ahead of time. And similarly, once it gets underway, it is then influenced by an inertia all its own. Micro controls and adjustments aren't really possible. Our society is this giant ship. There are 8 billion people on this earth - that is 8000 million. An incomprehensible number that grows rapidly every day. As civilization grows and advances, so does our medicine, our technology, our cultural norms. These are all natural processes that are necessary to manage an increasing number of societies all around the globe. And many of the advances we're making have exciting potential benefits for humanity, although as with all tools, they also inherently possess the potential for abuse. Here are some other things happening in society right now, some you may be aware of and many you may not:
RealID - The Real ID law requires people to show security-enhanced IDs to pass through airport security checkpoints or to enter certain federal facilities.
Traffic Cameras - Most people know that there are traffic cameras in an increasing number of areas, some of which can assess your speed and issue you a ticket automatically.
Automation Everywhere - Beyond assembly lines, robots are continually performing more types of tasks from ever more companies, replacing human employees at an increasing rate.
Automated Trucks - Autonomous trucks are coming soon that can see forward over a half mile, farther than any other autonomous system in the world, and run during the day, the night and even in the rain.
Global Satellite Internet - Elon Musk's SpaceX recently launched its fourth batch of internet-beaming satellites, as the company builds a broadband internet business by deploying thousands of satellites into orbit
Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency - As digital payments become more and more prevalent, digital currency uses cryptography to secure and verify transactions as well as to control the creation of new units of a particular cryptocurrency.
Voluntary Nanochipping - People are having microchips implanted into their bodies so that they don't need to carry key cards, IDs, and even train tickets.
Programmable Viruses - As antibiotic-resistant bacteria becomes a greater problem, viruses are being engineered to fight the bacteria in targeted ways
Facial Recognition Technology - Airports are using facial-recognition cameras to confirm passenger identity. Mobile phone makers are using face recognition for biometric security. Retailers are using it to prevent violence and crime, and for advertising.
Thermal Scanners - Airports, casinos, and grocery stores are screening passengers for sickness. In China, this data is being used to control traffic.
ID2020 - Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is developing human-implantable capsules that have ‘digital certificates’ which can contain financial data, medical records, tracking tech, and more.
There is an interesting chicken or egg relationship between science fiction and real world science. Sci-fi writers are inspired by the real science of the day, then they apply their creativity to imagine what might be in the future. Young scientists encounter these fantastical ideas and think they are worth pursuing, and then set about to make them a reality, and the cycle continues. Futuristic concepts are then preempted and introduced through the media to the conscious mind, as we include them in books, movies, TV, video games, and more. Eventually we start seeing headlines of these new technologies and developments happening in other places, usually Japan and China first due to their prevalence in the industrial and technological sectors of our global economy. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
2/6 Disclaimer: This is my editing, so there could be some misunderstandings. Anyone who wants to read everything should go to the 'spec' of Paracosm discord. IMHO, Hans's philosophy and motivation is worth sharing widely. Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전7:57 People are more motivated then ever Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전8:02 the point is that the IF is not going to be there forever - its not meant to having a self sustainable ecosystem is very important for the maturity of the protocol Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전8:03 No it's not if IF would cease to exist tomorrow - it would be finished by the people working for the IF anyway I am 100% sure and if i would have to do it alone ... Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전8:05 we can all do it together - and we are actually doing it already hornet and goshimmer have VERY close ties they are really good friends and very capable coders its an honor to work with them Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전8:06 [when do you reckon the shift to binary will take place?] its being merged in goshimmer tomorrow :smile: Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전8:14 [about Multiverse] the last statements of popov was that it "might work" he still has some concerns i guess he still tends to think the chances of it not working as bigger than the chances of it working I am 100% sure it works - but maybe its on me to prove that with a fully functional prototype. Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전8:17 My goal is to show a prototype being able to process 10 million tps by the mid of this year - we will see if I can pull this off maybe time will be rare, considering the parallel work on coordicide maybe I should aim for end of 2020 instead Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전8:19 of course it includes sharding that whole point of IOTA is sharding and a completely new form of sharding Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전8:19 [why 10m TPS?] its just a random number some kind of goal post so you can process the entirety of bitcoins history in 1minute and 30 seconds? would be a nice thing Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전8:21 coordicide and multiverse would essentially use the same sharding principles I hope that we can share more on that soon Oh its quite concrete we are starting to write math papers about it already Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전8:23 FPC is perfectly fine for sharding you have to forget the discrete sharding world of blockchains where you just make n copies of the same thing its very different Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전8:30 I would LOVE to share that with you but maybe just wait a but longer - we will be more open about this pretty soon let's just say that we still have some aces in our sleeves Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전8:49 nope I am completely new in crypto but I am pretty sure that some people might "know me from before" if they would know what I did before Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전8:57 dude the IF has reached a stage where it would survive without anbybody I could drop dead tomorrow and the IF would continue, same goes for David or anybody else Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전9:00 all the corporates and everything ... it might not be fully reflected in the price yet but IOTA has a really really bright future Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전9:01 I think we are starting to see a pretty bullish sentiment around IOTA lately I only hope that its due to our increased transparency with a clear roadmap and everyhting, and not just some random fluke in the prices It would just feel much more "rewarding" to be a consequence of our efforts :joy: Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전9:05 i am buying more IOTA every month : was very happy about the low prices but I can understand that if you just "have to believe" and have no insight about the actual progress, then these prices can feel more concerning than a "bargain" Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전9:13 Do you really expect a guy working on IOTA to not be bullish about the tech and everything? I am not in IOTA for the moneyzzz Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전9:18 if you are asking for investment advice, then I am most probably the worst person to ask as my trades in crypto have always been horrible Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전9:20 I didn't have the chance to be around in the ICO days so I need to take what's left Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전9:27 I don't know man - everybody that I know is not willing to sell Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전9:35 Yassin is the proof that "reputation" is worth something A man of honor - my deepest respect to you man People who stick to their word and can be trusted are sadly a rare thing in today's world Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전9:39 I anyway think that we have way too much tribalism in crypto people should really stop praising "people and projects" and instead start to praise ideas and concepts Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전9:43 I mean I get the whole concept of having a single currency and shit, but if the tech is bad? I mean this is the first time in the history of humans that we can "design" the very foundation of our social and economical layer why would we not go for the best available tech? bitcoin was "a breakthrough" when it was released and it helped to kickstart a whole field of research but its clearly not the best possible solution Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전9:47 ultimately the best tech will win just look at bitcoins dominance its fading long term sure it was time for a correction from the 2017 run of alts Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전9:47 but the overall trend is pretty clear bitcoins days are numbered Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전9:54 maybe I can leak one thing about IOTA's sharding solution without giving away too much: Every single node can individually decide how much data it wants to process - so you can have very very resource-constrained nodes like sensors and stuff in the same network as nodes with hundreds of cores and they will be able to work together seamlessly there will essentially be no "minimum hardware requirements" for a node (of course you have "some" requirements to even be able to run some kind of logic) Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전9:56 We are on the forefront of research when it comes to VDF's but its not really related VDFs would maybe be a way to replace PoW in the future as a rate control mechanism Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전9:58 you don't need big nodes you can be as big as you want to be but naturally some nodes will have more power than others Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전10:01 possible - the whole mana system is based on "reputation", if you run a reliable cluster of nodes that people are willing to use, then you can earn mana and since mana decides how many transactions you can issue, you can of course "allow others to use your resources" for money so operating a reliable node cluster could be sth that people might do "for a living" in the future maybe it would be best to build up a reputation already today Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전10:03 if you have funds in the network, then you will generate more than enough mana to have enough "shares" in the network to use it for free but if anybody wants to just piggyback on the network without holding tokens, then he might have to pay a "fee" Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전10:05 if you want to send a lot of data transactions, then you better have some tokens I mean its just fair, right? you don't have any stake in the network but you wanna use it? then pay for it but people who have funds in the network can use it for free Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전10:07 i think ultimately the community will provide a plugin for the nodes, where you can "automatically" rent your excess reputation for some income Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전10:08 [what would the income be ?] tokens IOTA Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전10:09 by the people who want to use the network more than what their token holding would allow them to so they rent "mana" from the people who have it Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전10:10 the internet took off when flat-rate emerged and prices became predictable the same is true for crypto Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전10:11 thats why companies like IOTA so much ... it creates a platform that has "predictable" prices any mining based crypto will never be able to offer the same Beeing feeless is not just a "funny feature", its the key to mass adoption Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전10:14 If I run a node and have funds in the network, then why would I pay anybody anything? I am supporting the network already by using it Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전10:16 Yeah we are using "mana 2" now which is also the one that is implemented in the goshimmer mana package the formulas are going to change a bit tho we had like 16 different versions of mana with all very different implications on game theory and code Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전10:18 but serguei is the expert when it comes to game theory and we are pretty confident that we have chosen the correct survivor Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전10:19 [The mana implementation does seem like the slipperiest slope] it uses a few economic theories from the early 20th century (from silvio gesell) by having smth like a "demurrage function" so the rich dont get richer its software - if any design decision turns out to be problematic, you patch it Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전10:20 [So it’s hard to maintain a high mana] its not like you have to live with it for thousands of years like in our current FIAT system if you make it right from the start, the rich will never become that powerful that they could even dare to fork Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전10:22 you are "RENTING" out your excess resources that doesn't mean that you will broadcast everything unseen If somebody tries to use your node to perform an attack you will just ignore it of course you might "lose the fees" that they would be willing to pay you to perform this attack, but ultimately you will have to decide what is more valuable to you the few cents of IOTA you earn or your "reputation / mana" Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전10:25 the nodes will perform all of the sanity checks, so they don't "accidently" take part in an attack of course the point is that its a voting system based on mana if I use your node to "issue a transaction", then I maybe pay you for issuing this tx but your "opinion on that tx" is independent of that Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전10:29 actually I even think that the whole coordicide principles especially in connection with the sharding are very much in line with cfb's initial vision - and I am actually a bit sad that he never really dared to honestly look into them Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전10:29 I was even thinking about "naming" the multiverse "cfbs vision" once maybe its more (pauls's vision) than cfbs vision paul handy was one of the other early developers of IOTA btw. and a very very smart person I have to say a lot of the ideas that we are currently pursuing go back to his line of thinking Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전10:32 the infamous "ontology principles" the ultimate goal is to be able to run "anything" on the tangle - not just value transfers but literally anything, event remotely related to DLT's I envision IOTA being a general purpose DLT platform pretty much like TCP/IP was for the internet Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전10:36 I introduced "broadcasts" a few days ago as a new concept that is the equivalent of UDP messages Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전10:49 I think that one of the things where cfb and me disagree regarding the "vision of IOTA" is that he think thats we should "finalize" the protocol as soon as possible (or "set it in stone" as he likes to call it), so hardware manufacturer can start to build hardware, whereas I think that it makes much more sense for it to be something like an "open evolving standard" that is so flexible that you can literally build whatever the fuck you want based on this protocol. The internet wouldn't have been the internet, if it would have "just" been for sending scientific messages between researchers. I can not anticipate and know what humans might do with DLT in the future, so limiting myself to "only value transfers" is IMHO the wrong decision. for something to be successful, it needs to be able to "model" everything that could possibly exist Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전10:51 IOTA will be able to run "anything" on top of it - even "virtual instances of other cryptocurrencies" and its not going to be some quirky slow emulation - it would most probably even be faster and more reliable than when being implemented without it Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전10:52 similar to "INTEL inside" you will most probably see sth like "Tangle inside" soon Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전10:54 "any application" running on top of the tangle (MAM, DID, Qubic, Matrix ... you name them) would ALWAYS have to be able to process IOTA value transfers THAT's what will give the token a value Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전10:55 if everybody can already "speak the same language" anyway, then people will also use that language to communicate which means that people will use the IOTA token to transfer value so we don't need to "force ourselves" on others - they will come by themselves because its the only thing that makes sense Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전10:57 [so Hans, $10 EOY still ?] if btc stays where it is? hard to achieve i'd say most probably not it always takes some time for people to "wake up" dunno maybe it goes fast most weak hands are gone in IOTA Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전11:00 But seriously guys ... the price of course is interesting but if we are able to pull this off, then this will be the start of a new form of society it will affect everything the way we interact .... even the way we behave towards each other I am not even sure if you need to be "rich" in that kind of society Star trek sounds like a nice vision Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전11:20 [once IOTA is completely implemented, its gonna be a matter of energy consumption optimization race I guess?] ultimately, yes whatever crypto is going to be the "cheapest" one to "operate" will win Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전11:22 BUT that is at the same time "expressive" enough to not have "niches" for weird competitors, that claim to be even a "little bit better" in one of the aspects it needs to be the best possible solution that humans are most probably able to come up with Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전11:23 if even the smallest something can be improved, then it should become part of the core rather than a competing project not having miners and being able to "upgrade" whenever it is necessary, is what will give IOTA power not setting stuff in stone today Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전11:29 I guess what fascinates me the most about IOTA is that people have a different kind of philosophy - in crypto people are usually sharing the mindset of "let's destroy the banks ... or .... the FED ... or whoever they consider to be their enemy IOTA for me is not so much about "destroying somebody else" rather than "creating something new" Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전11:30 But the "mindset and motivation" makes all the difference And I feel like large parts of the community "understand and share" that vision Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전11:34 there are plenty of "problems" where DLT is not the right answer but there are most probably also quite a few that we haven't even thought about, yet that go way beyond just "finance" Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전11:38 [Has IF any plans for anonymous transactions Hans?] it's current not our main point of research but I would say ultimately yes the fact thats its feeless make "mixing" funds a very feasible solution But even on top of that (like zero knowledge proofs and stuff) If there is a use case, then you should be able to do it with IOTA. that's what I mean with "general purpose DLT" platform whatever is possible should be doable with the protocol - not "just" IoT value transfers Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전11:42 everything you could most probably think of the same way as TCP/IP allows you to play computer games, send emails, or watch streams Hans Moog [IF]어제 오전11:48 tomorrow I start merging the first ledger-related stuff into the development branch from the outside it will most probably look like any other day : but starting to work on the "final version" which is supposed to be ready end of Q1 is a big milestone for us 2 months left Hans Moog [IF]어제 오후12:04 100% agree - let's finish this shit! we have "talked" for quite a while - the coming months, we will have to show what we "have"
Want to scrap RMT? Reduce cheating and hatcheting? Dissolve the meta? Open your mind and let's talk.
Disclaimer #2: I wrote this early yesterday morning and since then, the podcast happened and FIR Flea Market was announced. I have redacted some sections as a response. Disclaimer: I know this is a long read and contains many sensitive subjects such as Secure Containers, the Flea Market, and Soft Skills, but it is simply a compiled list of ideas and in no way am I demanding for ultimate order in my favor or holding anybody else's ideas in contempt. I understand that my ideals may drastically differ from others. I only wrote this because of my passion for this game and my desire to see it succeed in the scope of what the devs outlined it to be, or at least how we interpret it: a hardcore looter shooter. I implore you guys to offer your own suggestions, ideas, and pick apart mine. This thread should only serve as the foundation for a greater Tarkov. First, let's establish some terms to better differentiate between the two types of cheaters. There are consumer cheaters who use programs to gain an advantage over other players simply for the satisfaction of winning. Then, there are commercial cheaters, who are using these same programs but in order to generate an income in real life. Commercial cheating will always be prolific in any video game that offers players transferable goods, and for as long as there is real money profit to be made, the benefits will continue to outweigh the risks. Any security expert can tell you that no lock is unpickable, no chain is unbreakable, and no password is unsolvable, but that doesn't mean we should all keep our doors unlocked, bikes unchained, and our passwords as "1234". And while a chain might not prevent your expensive road bike from getting stolen, having a chain, a disk lock, lojack, and the front wheel taken with you will certainly deter the grand majority of otherwise would-be thieves, who will of course, make an attempt on the less-protected bike adjacent to yours instead. Battleye is a good start, the equivalent of a quality bike chain if you will, but of course--enough to stop most consumer cheaters, though not enough to stop most commercial cheaters. So let's ask ourselves: Where should intervention be focused on the most? We could target the cheat providers, but they'll keep writing more cheats. A game of cat and mouse. We could target the (commercial) cheaters, but they'll just buy more accounts and more cheats with the money they made cheating. Cat and mouse. Who else, then, if not the problem? They aren't the problem. Your every-day player. He is the problem. Small businesses are closing for good because the risk of COVID-19 is preventing customers from supporting their establishment. Let's increase the risk for the RMT customer to get the product that they paid for. How? Make secure containers "read-only". Anything in your container can be "used" i.e. meds, keys, loose rounds for magazine packing, but nothing can be taken out or put in. It will then act as a non-transferable stash that can safeguard your valuables. No more accidentally dropping your S I C C case full of keys and then getting killed. However.. want to drop a keycard, case of bitcoins, or other valuables to a friend or a customer? It has to start and end the raid outside of either persons' secure container. This puts tradeable goods at risk for both the buyer and seller for the entirety of the raid, and not just at the extract when the transaction is made. This simultaneously makes PVP more rewarding. Now, when you murder that pistoling who risked nearly nothing and put an annoying crack in your shiny, expensive face shield, you'll be able to take the graphics card or LEDX off of his body to remind him that his chances at those items would have been greater had he risked some gear of his own. More gear taken into raids is more gear taken out of the economy. Combined with the current weight system, this is a necessary and intuitive money sink. On the topic of money sinks, let's consider changing how insurance works. Rather than insure items, we could insure ourself. Pay Prapor or Therapist a reasonable, fixed fee in advance to recover any goods left on our body (only what was taken IN to the raid. I was exploring the idea of having the game take a snapshot of your corpse's entire inventory upon the conclusion of the raid and sending it in the mail, but it would be too easy to abuse for RMT purposes. The seller could give the customer a backpack full of bitcoins and kill him in a bush for example). Because the body is insured and not each individual item, things such as ammo and meds could be returned without the bloat of having an insurance status on each individual bullet in a magazine, the primary reason I believe ammo to not be insurable currently. The fee could scale with the "safety" of the map. For example, Prapor's boys would probably feel less comfortable scouring Reserve for your dead body than a place like Factory, and thus the fee for body recovery on Reserve could be upwards of 100K and unless you were completely stripped, you would still probably make money back on unlooted ammo/meds alone. Factory on the other hand, because of how small the map is and therefore easy to find dead PMCs, the fee could be a reasonable 10K. This does two things: First, it stops insurance fraud. Dumping your gear (to ditch a thermal or wear someone else's kit, guaranteeing you get yours back) or your dead buddy's gear into a bush is unimmersive and bad for the economy. The current insurance system unreasonably rewards squad play for the wrong reasons, effectively removing the penalty for death if at least 1 competent person in the group survives (I personally frequent 3-5 man squads and it just feels unfair how much gear I get back when I die). Second, it sets up a new dynamic in place of insurance fraud. Now, if you want your buddy to get his stuff back, you have to defend his body or extract with his gear. This rewards scavs for properly scavenging, looking for the fruitful casualties of groups that made it out. This is good for the economy, as the punishment for death almost always will result in a transfer of wealth to those who work for it and not a retention of wealth for non-solos. Next up, the Flea Market. It has been expressed many times by streamers that the Flea Market has ruined the game and should be removed but on the other hand, there were people complaining that level 15 was too high of a level to access the Flea Market and it has since become available earlier. I believe that the Flea Market is the core reason this game experiences the stagnant meta that it does. Global stock and personal limits from traders mean nothing when you can just visit the Flea Market and stockpile VALs and SR3Ms to run EVERY raid. Of course I am nobody to try and force anybody to play a certain way or use a certain loadout, but I do believe that the game would be more exciting if rare loadouts were actually rare. One solution is to make the Flea Market "find in raid" only. Not only would this be another nail in the RMT coffin (it would prevent customers from selling transacted barter items for exorbitant prices), but it would mark the first true player-driven economy by removing flipped goods from traders. Traders could offer a (per-person, not global) tailored, but random assortment of goods each restock that you can piece together a kit from rather than a static array of goods unlocked by loyalty level. The (loyalty) level of the player would determine the frequency and strength of their goods. At Prapor LL4 for example, you may see VALs pop up more often, but once you buy them, that's all, and you have to wait until next restock and he might not even have any by then either. You might see a VAL available at lower loyalties as well, but even less frequently. Traders could then scale their prices dynamically to global demand (not the old, abusable system. This one would change the price incrementally based on purchase frequency. Global purchase frequency rising on a specific item? Global price on that item raises accordingly). This is good for the economy and, combined with making the Flea Market "find in raid" only, I believe it to be a solution to stagnant meta. How cool was it when you were new and killed that guy who had an SV-98 that you had to examine because you hadn't seen it until now? You'd get that feeling more often this way. Lastly, if the "find in raid" status is spoofable by cheaters, add a server-side check for the status. Now on to weapon attachments. Because of how unusable most stock rifles feel, there is a huge appeal for sticking as many appendages as possible to rifles to achieve that sweet <70, or god forbid, <40 recoil. Many of the attachments in the game go untouched because they don't offer even close to the arbitrary stat benefits of those in the meta. It is such a shame, as one of Tarkov's greatest strengths is the weapon modding system. I believe a step in the right direction would be to improve base weapon stats around the board (excluding weapons with fewer attachments such as the DVL) and and then nerf and bring each attachment more in line with each other, especially some of the outliers. Compare the RK-2 to the VPG for example. As such though, if an unmodded weapon vs a modded weapon wasn't night and day, it would promote significantly more weapon and attachment diversity. Of course some people are still going to min-max no matter how insignificant the benefits are. I would just like to be able to use a shortened SA-58 and be remotely competitive with a BMD'd 21" CASV SA-58. Or be able to C-clamp a Zhukov AK-102 without a foregrip and not lose to an equal-skill player 3/5 times who has the same gun, but with an RK-2. Soft skill requirements for tasks and upgrades should be removed. They incline people to figure out ways of abusing the system and given people a reason to endorse it in order to progress through the task lines and upgrade their hideout. Soft skills should only be a passive reward for playing the game, not something people feel obligated to abuse. Additionally, PMCs should start at a higher level of soft skills, say... 10, to reflect the training and experience they received during employment. It doesn't make sense that untrained scavs have the same physical and mental capabilities as professional soldiers. Certain skills as well can benefit greatly from a rework. Let's look at the following: Strength The elite perk is incredibly overpowered, but only because of how extreme it is. It could be changed so that each level of Strength increments a small % of the current elite perk, such as 0.5% per level, and then an additional 5% or so for elite, so at level 51, only 70% of the weight from worn gear would be counted. Run speed and Jump height could be reduced, and the leveling speed increased. On the topic of gear weight, now that the weight system has been introduced and we get slower the heavier we get, could flat movement speed penalties from armor be removed? 6B43 already weighs 20KG. Why does it also slow for an additional 42%? Nobody uses heavy armor anymore because the extra protection is not worth the forfeiture of loot AND lowered base movement speed AND lowered sensitivity/ergonomics. Sensitivity inconsistency is another issue and most consider it a cardinal sin in FPS games. Recoil Control Heavily reduce the benefits. -0.3% recoil per level totaling -15% at level 50. As well, -0.4% recoil on the first shot per mouse click. The elite perk could be an additional 5% reduction on the first shot per mouse click. This would be a nice buff to semi-autos and make them more competitive against the current laser beam meta guns. Search The elite perk, again, is overpowered. Perhaps starting at Search level 0, we should be able to search two items at the same time, but at 40% speed each if searching two items at once. If only one item is searched at a time, speed would remain at 100%. With each level, search speed for double search increases by 1% and single search by 2% and the elite perk adds an additional 10%, bringing double search speed up to 100% at level 51 without the black and white difference between levels 50 and 51. TL;DR: No TL;DR because I know some people will draw wild conclusions before fully understanding the content of the post.
The Intellectual Foundation of Bitcoin比特幣的智識基礎. By Chapman Chen, HKBNews
https://preview.redd.it/w6v3l8n3zxu41.jpg?width=2551&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=fb0338a36a1a321d3781f43ff5eb6929d8b92edc Summary: Bitcoin was invented by the anonymous Satoshi Nakamoto as recently as 2008, but it is backed up by a rich intellectual foundation. For instance, The 1776 First Amendment separates church and state, and contemporary American liberation psychologist Nozomi Hayase (2020) argues that money and state should similarly be separated. Just as Isaac Newton’s study of alchemy gave rise to the international gold standard, so has the anonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto's desire for a “modernized gold standard” given rise to Bitcoin. Indeed, Bloomberg's 2020 report confirms Bitcoin to be gold 2.0. Montesquieu (1774) asserted that laws that secure inalienable rights can only be found in Nature, and the natural laws employed in Bitcoin include its consensus algorithm and the three natural laws of economics (self-interest, competition, and supply and demand). J.S. Mill (1859) preferred free markets to those controlled by governments. Ludwig von Mises (1951) argued against the hazards of fiat currency, urging for a return to the gold standard. Friedrich Hayek (1984) suggested people to invent a sly way to take money back from the hands of the government. Milton Friedman (1994) called for FED to be replaced by an automatic system and predicted the coming of a reliable e-cash. James Buchanan (1988) advocated a monetary constitution to constrain the governmental power of money creation. Tim May (1997) the cypherpunk proclaimed that restricting digital cash impinges on free speech, and envisioned a stateless digital form of money that is uncensorable. The Tofflers (2006) pictured a non-monetary economy. In 2016, UCLA Professor of Finance Bhagwan Chowdhry even nominated Satoshi for a Nobel Prize. Full Text: Separation between money and state The 1791 First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution enshrines free speech and separates church and state, but not money and state. "Under the First Amendment, individuals’ right to create, choose their own money and transact freely was not recognized as a part of freedom of expression that needs to be protected," Japanese-American liberation psychologist Nozomi Hayase (2020) points out (1). The government, banks and corporations collude together to encroach upon people's liberties by metamorphosing their inalienable rights into a permissioned from of legal rights. Fiat currencies function as a medium of manipulation, indulging big business to generate market monopolies. "Freedom of expression has become further stifled through economic censorship and financial blockage enacted by payment processing companies like Visa and MasterCard," to borrow Hayase's (2020) words. Satoshi is a Modern Newton Although most famous for discovering the law of gravity, Isaac Newton was also a practising alchemist. He never managed to turn lead into gold, but he did find a way to transmute silver into gold. In 1717, Newton announced in a report that, based on his studies, one gold guinea coin weighed 21 shillings. Just as Isaac Newton’s study of alchemy gave rise to the international gold standard, so has the desire for a “modernized gold standard” given rise to Bitcoin. "In a way, Satoshi is a modern Newton. They both believed trust is best placed in the unchangeable facets of our economy. Beneath this belief is the assumption that each individual is their own best master," as put by Jon Creasy (2019) (2). J.S. Mill: free markets preferable to those controlled by governments John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) the great English philosopher would be a Bitcoiner were he still around today. In On Liberty (1859), Mill concludes that free markets are preferable to those controlled by governments. He argues that economies function best when left to their own devices. Therefore, government intervention, though theoretically permissible, would be counterproductive. Bitcoin is precisely decentralized or uncontrolled by the government, unconfiscatable, permissonless, and disinflationary. Bitcoin regulates itself spontaneously via the ordinary operations of the system. "Rules are enforced without applying any external pressure," in Hayase's (2020) words. Ludwig von Mises (1958): Liberty is always Freedom from the Government In The Free Market and its Enemies, theoretical Austrian School economist Ludwig von Mises (1951) argues against the hazards of fiat currency, urging for a return to the gold standard. “A fiat money system cannot go on forever and must one day come to an end,” Von Mises states. The solution is a return to the gold standard, "the only standard which makes the determination of the purchasing power of money independent of the changing ideas of political parties, governments, and pressure groups" under present conditions. Interestingly, this is also one of the key structural attributes of Bitcoin, the world’s first, global, peer-to-peer, decentralized value transfer network. Actually, Bloomberg's 2020 report on Bitcoin confirms that it is gold 2.0. (3) Von Mises prefers the price of gold to be determined according to the contemporaneous market conditions. The bitcoin price is, of course, determined across the various global online exchanges, in real-time. There is no central authority setting a spot price for gold after the which the market value is settled on among the traders during the day. Hayek: Monopoly on Currency should End Austrian-British Nobel laureate Friedrich Hayek’s theory in his 1976 work, Denationalization of Money, was that not only would the currency monopoly be taken away from the government, but that the monopoly on currency itself should end with multiple alternative currencies competing for acceptance by consumers, in order "to prevent the bouts of acute inflation and deflation which have played the world for the past 60 years." He forcefully argues that if there is no free competition between different currencies within any nation, then there will be no free market. Bitcoin is, again, decentralized, and many other cryptocurrencies have tried to compete with it, though in vain. In a recently rediscovered video clip from 1984, Hayek actually suggested people to invent a cunning way to take money out of the hands of the government:- “I don’t believe we shall ever have a good money again before we take the thing out of the hands of government, that is, we can’t take them violently out of the hands of government, all we can do is by some sly roundabout way introduce something they can’t stop” (4). Reviewing those words 36 years hence and it is difficult not to interpret them in the light of Bitcoin. Milton Friedman Called for FED to be Replaced by an Automatic System Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman (1994) was critical of the Federal Reserve due to its poor performance and felt it should be abolished (5). Friedman (1999) believed that the Federal Reserve System should ultimately be replaced with a computer program, which makes us think of the computer code governing Bitcoin (6).[\](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_the_Federal_Reserve#cite_note-:2-12) He (1970) favored a system that would automatically buy and sell securities in response to changes in the money supply. This, he argued, would put a lid on inflation, setting spending and investment decisions on a surer footing (7). Bitcoin is exactly disflationary as its maximum possible supply is 21 million and its block reward or production rate is halved every four years. Friedman passed away before the coming of bitcoin, but he lived long enough to see the Internet’s spectacular rise throughout the 1990s. “I think that the Internet is going to be one of the major forces for reducing the role of government," said Friedman in a 1999 interview with NTU/F. On the same occasion, he sort of predicted the emergence of Bitcoin, "The one thing that’s missing, but that will soon be developed, is a reliable e-cash, a method whereby on the Internet you can transfer funds from A to B, without A knowing B or B knowing A." (8) “Of course, Friedman didn’t predict the block chain,” summed up American libertarian economist Jeffery Tucker (2014). “But he was hoping for a trustless system. He saw the need.” (9). Bitcoin Computer Code as Constitution in the Buchananian Sense American economist cum Nobel laureate James Buchanan (1988) advocates constitutional constraints on the governmental power to create money (10). Buchanan distinguishes a managed monetary system—a system “that embodies the instrumental use of price-level predictability as a norm of policy”—from an automatic monetary system, “which does not, at any stage, involve the absolute price level” (Buchanan 1962, 164–65). Leaning toward the latter, Buchanan argues that automatic systems are characterized by an organization “of the institutions of private decision-making in such a way that the desired monetary predictability will emerge spontaneously from the ordinary operations of the system” (Buchanan 1962, 164). Again, "Bitcoin regulates itself through the spontaneous force of nature, flourishing healthy price discovery and competition in the best interest of everyone" (Hayase 2020). Shruti Rajagopalan (2018) argues that the computer code governing how the sundry nodes/computers within the Bitcoin network interact with one another is a kind of monetary constitution in the Buchananian sense. One of Buchanan's greatest inputs is to differentiate the choice of rules from the choice within rule (Buchanan 1990). One may regard the Bitcoin code as a sort of constitution and "the Bitcoin network engaging in both the choice of rules and choice within rules" (Rajagopalan 2018) (11). Tim May: Restricting Digital Cash may Impinge on Free Speech Cypherpunks are activists who since the 1980s have advocated global use of strong cryptography and privacy-enhancing technologies as a route to social and political liberation. Tim May (Timothy C. May [1951-2018]), one of the influential cypherpunks published The Crypto Anarchist Manifesto in September 1992, which foretold the coming of Bitcoin (12). Cypherpunks began envisioning a stateless digital form of money that cannot be censored and their collaborative pursuit created a movement akin to the 18th Enlightenment. At The 7th Conference on Computers, Freedom, and Privacy, Burlingame, CA. in 1997, Tim May equated money with speech, and argued that restricting digital cash may impinge on free speech, for spending money is often a matter of communicating orders to others, to transfer funds, to release funds, etc. In fact, most financial instruments are contracts or orders, instead of physical specie or banknotes (13). Montesquieu: Laws that secure inalienable rightscan only be found in Nature In his influential work The Spirit of Laws (1748), Montesquieu wrote, “Laws ... are derived from the nature of things … Law, like mathematics, has its objective structure, which no arbitrary whim can alter". Similarly, once a block is added to the end of the Bitcoin blockchain, it is almost impossible to go back and alter the contents of the block, unless every single block after it on the blockchain is altered, too. Cypherpunks knew that whereas alienable rights that are bestowed by law can be deprived by legislation, inalienable rights are not to be created but can be discovered by reason. Thus, laws that secure inalienable rights cannot be created by humankind but can be found in nature. The natural laws employed in Bitcoin to enshrine the inalienable monetary right of every human being include its consensus algorithm, and the three natural laws of economics (self-interest, competition, and supply and demand) as identified by Adam Smith, father of modern economics. Regarding mathematics, bitcoin mining is performed by high-powered computers that solve complex computational math problems. When computers solve these complex math problems on the Bitcoin network, they produce new bitcoin. And by solving computational math problems, bitcoin miners make the Bitcoin payment network trustworthy and secure, by verifying its transaction information. Regarding economic laws, in accordance with the principle of game theory to generate fairness, miners take part in an open competition. Lining up self-interests of all in a network, with a vigilant balance of risk and rewards, rules are put in force sans the application of any exterior pressure. "Bitcoin regulates itself through the spontaneous force of nature, flourishing healthy price discovery and competition in the best interest of everyone," to borrow the words of Hayase (2020). A Non-monetary Economy as Visualized by the Tofflers In their book, Revolutionary Wealth (2006), futurists Alvin Toffler and his wife Heidi Toffler toy with the concept of a world sans money, raising a third kind of economic transaction that is neither one-on-one barter nor monetary exchange. In the end, they settle on the idea that the newer non-monetary economy will exist shoulder-to-shoulder with the monetary sector in the short term, although the latter may eventually be eclipsed by the former in the long run. What both the Tofflers' The Third Wave (1980) and Revolutionary Wealth bring into question is the very premise of monetary exchange. The vacuum left over by cash in such a non-monetary economy may be filled up by Bitcoin as a cryptocurrency. Satoshi Nakamoto Nominated for Nobel Prize by UCLA Finance Prof. UCLA Anderson School Professor of Finance Bhagwan Chowdhry nominated Satoshi Nakamoto for the 2016 Nobel Prize in Economics on the following grounds:- It is secure, relying on almost unbreakable cryptographic code, can be divided into millions of smaller sub-units, and can be transferred securely and nearly instantaneously from one person to any other person in the world with access to internet bypassing governments, central banks and financial intermediaries such as Visa, Mastercard, Paypal or commercial banks eliminating time delays and transactions costs.... Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin Protocol has spawned exciting innovations in the FinTech space by showing how many financial contracts — not just currencies — can be digitized, securely verified and stored, and transferred instantaneously from one party to another (14). Fb link: https://www.facebook.com/hongkongbilingualnews/posts/947121432392288?__tn__=-R Web link: https://www.hkbnews.net/post/the-intellectual-foundation-of-bitcoin%E6%AF%94%E7%89%B9%E5%B9%A3%E7%9A%84%E6%99%BA%E8%AD%98%E5%9F%BA%E7%A4%8E-by-chapman-chen-hkbnews Disclaimer: This article is neither an advertisement nor professional financial advice. End-notes
Why the Covid-19-induced Economic Downturn Can be a Blessing in Disguise
https://preview.redd.it/ei56m90o8hz41.png?width=1024&format=png&auto=webp&s=b23062c417a8b87d8fd0f228165dabef2f6adf2f Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund, Gita Gopinath has written a piece reporting and predicting the disastrous consequences of the Coronavirus pandemic on the global economy. Hoping that the economies will be able to restart by the 3rd quarter of the year 2020, this year will see a global GDP growth rate of -3%. This is not only worse than the 2008 financial crisis, Gopinath writes; it is the worst recession since the great depression of 1930s. The cumulative losses to the global GDP over 2020 to 2021 is predicted to be equivalent to approximately 9 trillion dollars, which is greater than the economies of Japan and Germany combined. How Can the Economy Bounce Back? All these assumptions will hold true if the economic institutions are able to bounce back properly. The labour markets and human capital development may be stunted with the crisis in the health and the education sector. So, one of the most crucial factors of production might be in scarce supply even after the economy restarts, in most countries. Investment is also likely to become a big problem as the investors are becoming increasingly risk averse in the wake of this crisis. This is particularly bad news for the developing economies, as they will be facing a lot of capital flight. This again will have negative consequences for the global economy. As a consequence there will be huge job losses, shutdowns and shrinking in the per-capita income. Even the stock and commodities markets are in an exceptionally bad state. On May 13, both stock and oil prices have taken a hit, as there is an increasing fear of a second wave of Covid-19. Indices across the globe plummeted, especially after the statement by Anthony Fauci, the Head of Center for Disease Control, United States, signifying the possible negative consequences of an early lifting of the lockdown, therefore indicating the prolongation of the economic lockdown. Can Digital Assets be the Answer to Global Financial Woes? In the light of these instabilities in the global economic system, it is not surprising that people are looking for alternatives, and are in fact being compelled to do that. In fact, the World Economic Forum, which is the vanguard of the global economic order, has passed been considering how blockchain technology could be used to improve the global supply chains, to make them more resilient in the face of crises like these. Similarly, the COVID-19 crisis has led to a 72% increase in the use of fintech apps in Europe. In late April, according to CoinMarketCap, Bitcoin prices rose by 23% to 9500 dollars in less than a day. This is indicative of a greater interest in cryptocurrencies; and also of the fact that how cryptocurrencies can be much more resilient in the face of a crisis, given that they are not subjected to policy changes, and other forms of market manipulation and direct exogenous forces affecting fiat and equities alike. Therefore in a globalised world they will show the way. Why Cryptocurrency Trading has Seen a Sharp Rise The uncertainty surrounding the current global economic scenario has renewed interest of many traders in the crypto sector. Almost all digital assets trading platforms, or cryptocurrency exchanges, have reported a sharp rise not only in number of new registrations, but in trading volumes as well. Even new traders, without any previous experience in trading either traditional assets, or digital assets, are also taking the plunge into crypto trading. While these are exciting times, there are also risks associated with volatility of digital assets. However, with some inside knowledge into how trading (in its different avatars) works, traders can be empowered to take informed decisions and protect their investments alongside making handsome profits. Leading digital assets trading platform, Bithumb Global, has introduced many innovative options which make trading easy in these times. For example in a time of capital shortage, margin trading can be a great way to leverage the opportunities of crypto trading to make profits. How Does Leverage Trading Work? While we have explained through a step-by-step guide on how new traders can register on the Bithumb Global platform for margin trading activities, let us explain the process and its intricacies a bit better. Bithumb Global margin trading adopts the full-position mode, and provides 5X leverage. At the same time, when the transaction is generated, the currency is automatically borrowed and returned, eliminating the steps of active borrowing and repayment. Considering you have registered onto the platform, or are logged in to it and have also transferred assets in your margin trading account, the system will automatically allocate funds based on the available assets in your margin trading account and leverage multiples. The borrowable value is the largest loanable asset that the user can currently borrow from the platform and it depends on how much asset the user hold in the margin trading account. For example, if the amount of assets in the margin trading account is 10,000 USDT (it will show on the page), the user can borrow a maximum of 38,000 USDT. Therefore, through margin trading, the maximum amount that the user can operate with is 10,000 + 38,000 = 48,000 USDT. Assuming that the price of BTC is 7000 USDT and you are bullish it will reach 8000 USDT, you can borrow USDT from the platform to buy BTC. Now, your USDT position is 10,000 USDT and your maximum loan limit is 38,000 USDT. When buying 5 BTC for a pending order, a loan will be generated immediately after the pending order is placed. The loan amount is: 5 * 7000–10,000 = 25,000 USDT. In the order operation area, click the loan summary to view the asset balance, loan amount and interest payable in each currency. When BTC rises from 7000 USDT to 8000 USDT, you sell 5 BTC at 8000 USDT and the profit is 5 * (8000–7000) = 5000 USDT. You open the position (your target of 8000 USDT per BTC) and once target price is reached, you need to close the position. Our platform provides users with three modes of operation: 1) Quick liquidate In the Quick liquidate mode, the system will automatically calculate the user’s openable quantity. The user only needs to enter the target price and click “sell” to realize the sale of the pending order with the number of openable positions, thus achieving the effect of one-key closing. 2) Close loan In the close loan mode, the system will automatically calculate the amount of money and interest payable by the user. The user only needs to enter the target price and the system will automatically calculate the amount to buy or sell. You can realize the pending order for the corresponding amount of loan repayment. 3) Normal orders After opening a position, in the normal order placing mode, click 100% of the amount to buy or sell to realize the reverse opening order. Let us take the long BTC as an example to understand the three modes. User buys 5 BTC at 7000 USDT, and closes the position when BTC rises to 8000 USDT. The user will automatically close the position by quick liquidate mode. The system will automatically calculate the number of BTC that the user can close. The user has to click “sell” after the BTC price reaches 8000 USDT, to generate a pending order to sell 5 BTC at 8000 USDT in the current commission area. In the close loan mode, the system will automatically calculate the 25,000 USDT and interest payable that the user needs to repay the loan. When user enters 8000 USDT and click on “Sell BTC” to close the loan, he can generate 8000 USDT in the current commission area for sale. In the normal order placing mode, the user enters 8000 USDT and clicks 100% to sell BTC. A pending order with a quantity of more than 5 BTC will be produced. After the pending order is completed, the position will be converted from long BTC to short BTC. In summary, it is recommended that users complete the liquidation operation through quick liquidate when repaying the transaction. In addition, closing a position can also be done by transferring assets. The user transfers the loan amount from spot trading account to margin trading account, and the system will realize automatic repayment. Conclusion You have used money from the platform as a loan, bought assets, opened a position and made a handsome profit when the target was achieved. After paying back the loan as well as the interest on the money that you used, the remainder is your net profit. Margin trading also protects your downside. Your investments are protected when the price of an asset goes down. There are stops placed at the lower end to help you minimize your losses. So it is imperative that you try out margin trading with a small amount to understand the nitty-gritties and feel confident about it. All in all, margin trading has helped thousands of traders on Bithumb Global to leverage the current bullish sentiments in the cryptocurrency markets to make profits and hedge their risks in digital assets. Will you be the next successful trader?
Copied and pasted a long thread about the 2020s (part 2)
I have found a very interesting thread in a forum, I decided to copy and paste all the comments that the author of the post had made. The author posted this in 2019, the author also posted another in the past in 2018 about the same subject. But this will be about the 2019 post (part 2) I won't be sharing the link to the website because I want to protect the identity of the users since it is a mental health forum. But here is the link to part 1: https://www.reddit.com/The2020s/comments/dzpb6l/copied_and_pasted_a_long_thread_about_the_2020s/ --------------- Here we are! Today it is the year 2019, the near end of the 2010s.The 2010s was an interesting decade to say the least, internet use continued to spread like wildfire worldwide with more and more people becoming dependent on the internet. When I was a kid in the 2000s I felt like the odd one out because I was addicted to the desktop and I didn't know many other people who were addicted to computers, but today in the 2010s this seems like the new normal except now most people are carrying desktops in their own pockets (cellphones). In the 2000s politics was very moderate and there was much less polarization, now polarization is pretty much a growing trend with many people sharing very strong political believes on the internet. The internet became a political tool and metaphorically a source of political fuel in the 2010s, everyone can now share their believes on the internet and inspire a new group of followers, something that the world didn't have or realized it had until the 2010s and we are still getting used to this. In 2010 there were 6.9 billion people and 1.9 billion internet users, in 2019 there are about 7.8 billion people and about 4.5 billion internet users. Which means that internet use has increased by 237% while the world population has increased by at least 12%.By 2030 the world population is expected to reach 8.5 billion people and more than 7.5 billion people are expected to be internet users, that could very well be 90% of the worlds population. This means that the internet will truly begin to take over the world during the 2020s, it will continue to make big changes on how we will live and how we will communicate, it may become almost impossible to live in the western world without being online. Climate change is a big issue, in 2010 the global average temperature was 0.62 Celsius above 20th century average, in 2018 it was 0.79 Celsius above 20th century average. The 2018 temperatures may not seem like much but everyone who is informed about the summer of 2018 will agree that it was a very hot year, so hot that record wildfires within the arctic circle happened.By 2030 we could potentially reach 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming since pre-industrial times, again the number does not seem much but the consequences are huge. Mudslides from melting soil will turn mountains in death zones, lower food harvests and nutritional value will increase risks of starvation, loss of fresh water will result in wars over water, the Maldives will be flooded as well as Bangladesh which will cause huge mass migrations, the ice will melt even faster which are increasing sea levels, you get the idea.In the 2020s global warming will become a much bigger problem, but there is no guarantee that enough will be done to cut emissions. Developing countries such as India want nothing more than to have the same quality of life as the western world does, not much can be done to dissuade India until the country suffers greatly from global warming and the potential for growth seems impossible. As long as developing countries believe that growth is possible they will contribute massively to global emissions just as soon as the developed world begin to cut their emissions, and worse yet developing countries often have very high populations which will contribute to global warming even more than it could have done. In the 2020s there will be a new global superpower which would be decided by 2030, it is unlikely that America will remain the superpower due to its stagnant economy and the potential loss of trade partners in the near future. The most likely contenders for being the next global superpower is Russia and China, this struggle for power could potentially trigger a 2nd cold war. Global relations will change, there has been a growing loss of trust in the 2010s between nations and that trend will continue to escalate during the 2020s while new crises emerge.This loss of trust could result in balkanization in some parts of the world, particularly in ethnically diverse countries such as Papua New Guinea and Tanzania. Countries will begin to do their own thing and ignore international agreements as trust disintegrates, the Paris Agreement and the United Nations might be abandoned in the 2020s.To put it shortly, the world power will likely shift from Anglo-America to Asio-China/Russia, international co-operation and aid may regress into nationalistic autonomy, and from democracy to populism. Technologically, most breakthroughs will be related to the huge spread of the internet in some way, in other words most technological advances will be adaptations to the way we live with the internet and learning the full capability and power of it. 5g will be adopted reluctantly due to health concerns, but it will be adopted anyway at some point in the 2020s quickly and this will cause even more dramatic changes within our society. If you think our world has changed drastically so far just wait until 5g comes! By 2030 we could have fridges that are connected to the internet, many other inanimate objects would also be connected to the internet and whatever information is processed will be used to benefit companies as well as sniffing out bad behavior. Because of 5g, the 2020s may be the last decade when privacy is possible in society. Lastly, I am going to talk about generations and their role in the 2020s. Pretty much all Baby Boomers are going to retire in this decade to have their previous role as leaders replaced by Gen X, Gen Y will all be adults and will be trying to make big changes in the world, Gen Z will begin to grow into adults, there will be a new generation in the 2020s (generation beta). What do you think will happen in the 2020s? Very keen to read your thoughts about this topic!Have a good day. ------------------------- reply to user: Honestly I will never be able to answer with confidence about Brexit! I think many people in the parliament don't seem to know what to do, I think most likely Brexit will be on hold until the EU itself fails. Today the EU is already struggling to survive.How will the EU fail? When its financial situation gives European nations the incentive to leave so they can grow their economies by themselves without restrictions, the Syrian refugee crisis (5 million people) destabilized the EU to its core and it was the refugee crisis that started Brexit in the first place.Imagine what would happen to global politics if 20 million migrants went into Europe, it would certainly change a lot of things. reply to user:Religion could make a comeback in the 2020s, particularly in a scenario where climate change pushes people to turn to religion for comfort. Islam is on a sharp rise due to the fact that they have a lot of children, it will also become the biggest religion in the world in the near future, at that point most people on Earth will be Muslim.I think ISIS largely happened because of food shortages in Syria which resulted in civil war, if a similar thing happened in another vulnerable Muslim country then you can expect another wave of suicidal radicals wrecking havoc and forming another radical group.I have once predicted a similar uprising in North Africa resulting in a mass Christian migration into Europe, the number of Christian migrants could exceed 20 million. ----------------------- reply to user: Yeah the idea of the European Union has been a flawed and overly ambitious project right from the start, Europe is quite a divided continent with many countries having a strong sense of identity, trying to make Europe into one country will inevitably backfire. Without much doubt the EU will collapse, however it will live on under a different name by one or a few countries that still cling onto the vision.After EU falls there is a chance that a few more so-called unions may form, these unions may be alliances that share the same political views which could result in a polarization.Germany had a good shot at attempting to rule Europe again though, we tried it and probably won't do it again for a while. ----------------------- reply to user: Funny enough I have just very recently found out that the UK is going to have another general election, so far at the moment it looks like Labour is doing well with public approval, it is a likely possibility that Jeremy Corbyn may become the next prime minister.If Jeremy Corbyn becomes the next prime minister that would mean that Brexit will be cancelled, this could cause major polarization and unrest if there are still people who really want Brexit. Who knows what would happen if the majority of pro-Brexiteers protest in the streets because they didn't get what was promised to them? A British revolution is another real possibility. reply to user:Predicting elections will always be difficult for me because of how uncertain and at times random they all are, who would of thought that Trump would win in 2016? Would Trump win again in 2020? I mean it sounds crazy but if it happened in 2016 then it can certainly happen again in 2020. Although I do think that Trump has less of a chance of winning in 2020.A good thing to take note of is when Trump withdrew from the Paris Agreement much of America didn't follow suite, there are many American companies who still follow the Paris Agreement guidelines because they don't agree with Trump, there are many Americans who have not been implementing Trumps policies.Elections can never be predicted with 100% confidence, but Trump is more likely to lose in 2020 than 2016. ------------------------------- Thank you all for your replies, they have been smart and intuitive contributions. :-D Last night I just began researching about the 1920s out of interest (I think I might have mentioned the 1920s in the old 2020s thread). I have just started learning about the 1920s so there is a lot that I don't know about it but there are a few themes that resonates with today trends, which I will mention below.And because I am not well informed about the 1920s the below information would be hypothetical and open to speculation. The 1920s was an economically prosperous time for the Western World, but the economic prosperity abruptly ended with the Stock Market Crash in 1929 and resulted in the Great Depression in the 1930s. A very similar situation is happening today but is happening much slower and at the moment is less severe, the Stock Market Crash in 2007-2008 resulted in an economic crawl that is still persisting to this day. I have a feeling however that the full effect of the 2007-2008 economic crisis is yet to be felt in full force. Political movements such as Socialism and Fascism were on the rise in the 1920s-1930s partly because of the economic situation, those parties believed that capitalism is out of control and needs intervention to prevent the degeneration of society. The term supercapitalism was created by Fascists, it pretty much means a degenerated form of capitalism that is doing more harm than good to society. The blame of the 1929 Stock Market Crash was placed on Capitalism by both Socialists and Fascists, anti-capitalism exploded in the 1930s which resulted in far-left/far-right nations fighting one another by the end of that decade. Lets say that the next Great Depression is to start in the early 2020s, we already have a lot of young people who have a favorable view on Socialism, on some level there are many people who are blaming Capitalism for the economic crisis. Nations have already been polarizing in the 2010s, so what would happen if we enter the next Great Depression and then a massive surge of Socialism/Fascism happens straight after? The world would be in a very similar situation as the world in pre-WWII. If the 2020s Great Depression happens then Capitalism in the Western World could end, the more young people has power over America the more likely that the nation will transition into a Socialist state. Kinda ironic because in the 20th century Anglo-America fought against Socialist Russia and in the end capitalism unexpectantly won as the leading world policy, but in the 2020s Russia may abandon their socialist past and turn to capitalism as they take advantage of the new resources revealed by global warming, just as Anglo-America turns Socialist Asio-Russia will turn Capitalist (I'm not sure about China, but I'm pretty sure that India is taking the capitalist route too). The Arctic will melt a lot during the 2020s, Russia may likely claim most of the new oil reserves which will cause worldwide tension as oil will be running out, America will be stuck with the last remaining reserves of oil in Alaska and Canada which may result in poor relations between Canada and America, eventually China may have most of the oil reserves in the Middle East because I believe that the Middle East will turn to China for economic interests as America begins to lose its grip on the region. Nothing is forever, everything changes.To those who fear for the future of America I just want to say this, even if America loses influence on the world America will still cling onto their core values in their own home and I can't see America giving up on the American dream, I think that the American dream is redefined by each of its passing generations. ------------------------------ This is probably the last comment I will post in this thread so I'll be sure to write out anything else I can predict or think about the 2020s, again I may be repeating things but at this point its hard to avoid because I posted quite alot about the 2020s at this point. I definitely agree with :user: that if WW3 were to happen in the 2020s it would be similar to how WW1 started, everything was fine then suddenly everything wasn't and the world fell into further chaos resulting in a world war. Currently I believe that the 2020s will start off with a cautious optimism, the decade where Gen X and Gen Y fully realises that the world is in their hands and they will bring about changes. If I could name a main theme of the end of the 2010s I would say 'youth in protest'. A growing number of young people believe that civilization won't be there when they grow up, they see no point in taking part in a society that they believe will inevitably fail due to climate change. In the 2020s the 'youth in protest' will grow to such a degree that societal values of the 20th century will be rendered obsolete. But where does the cautious optimism comes in? I believe the optimism is the result of hope of a better future as the youth wields more power to make changes. We will likely see a big wave of new famous Gen Z's and who knows what they could contribute to this world? Today(Nov,2019) we can all sense that things are changing but what if the changes of the 2010s are volcanic rumbles compared to the eruption of the 2020s? The 2020s will likely be a social and societal fragmentation, the crossroads of a post-consumerist world. Baby Boomers are largely responsible for the world we live in today, very soon Baby Boomers will lose their power over the world and that power will be passed onto the younger generations who have different values. Most Baby Boomers favor capitalism, a growing number of younger generations favor socialism. Conspiracy theories are a growing trend, due to the upheaval of technology it has become easier to believe in conspiracy theories because what was crazy 10 years ago seems feasible today. I think if everyone starts to believe in conspiracy theories then a lack of trust would become so hard to overcome that the government would have no choice but to allow a degree of autonomy. Allowing autonomy would cause more and more lands to demand independence, most of them will be city states like Hong Kong or Singapore. I can't think of anything else, going to conclude it here.The 2020s would either be the beginning of a new era or a long-winded dying of the present post-consumerist era. The Baby Boomers will recline on their chairs and leave the whole world to Gen X and Y, Gen Z will become adults. I haven't mentioned robots but they will begin to take some of our jobs, which can possibly trigger a neo-luddite movement. WW3 hopefully won't happen, a 2nd Cold War is more likely to happen though. Hopefully there won't be an epidemic like the Spanish flu, in this case it will most likely evolve from a strain of bird flu. Climate change will trigger protests and changes, some fear that its already too late to stop global warming. Thank you for reading, lets make the 2020s as good of a decade as possible. ---------------------------------- reply to user: Yeah I've been getting a growing sense that a British Civil War might happen, last year I could not see a civil war happening but now it seems like a real possibility, today it is easy to figure out why it would happen. I bet not many people in the 17th century civil war wanted it to happen and didn't think that it would happen but you can learn what ended up happening, Charles I got beheaded and maybe Boris Johnson might meet a similar fate.Not a certainty, I can never be certain but its something worth worrying and preparing for. In the 2020s, I think the U.A.E is a possible candidate for a world power and I can see them cutting deals from America and making deals with China instead 'The enemy of my enemy is my friend.'. Imagine if America-UK runs out of energy and oil resources, in this scenario it is likely that U.A.E+China+Russia will own all the remaining deposits by then and we may have no choice but to give up a degree of independence in exchange for some of their oil and energy.Another scenario is the race for the last of the remaining resources that our society still largely depends on, the nation that has the most resources will have the most power and nations that lack those resources will form alliances with them for resources in return.We may possibly see the first super-corporations being established, a very large and powerful corporation that may be the true power behind everything and maybe even more powerful than political figureheads.Those super-corporations may become independent nations that have their own goals and projects, mostly they involve technologies for either saving our eco-systems or to control us. I have once thought about the year 2075, I imagined a huge city (at that time many countries collapsed, civilization largely being left with city-states ran by trillionaires) the city uses mind control technology to maintain order, the A.I is used to help the elites figure out the next best course of action, human clones are used for labor and war, everyone is constantly being watched due to surveillance that will be almost everywhere.The 2020s will be the start of the new world that future generations will recognized as the true 21st century, 2000-2030 will be seen as a transitional period. ------------------------ We are only 2 days away from the 2020s, I am going to post about the decade predictions to avoid the regret of not posting it before the 2010s ends. I will have a bit of closure about my 2020s threads now that I'm doing this for the last time, I might be a bit risky and do my best to make a scenario story for fun even though about half of it will be inaccurate haha, since accurately predicting the future is like trying to fly without wings. But still, some of the predictions I have thought about have already come true even before the 2020s has started, which makes it clear that the world is changing faster than we thought and will continue to increase the throttle. There is already some tension between America and China over trade, at the moment as I write this they have agreed to a truce after a trade war that not many knew about but there is tension and might escalate in the near future, if America attacks another nation again then half of the world will turn against America and will cut all trade-ties with it which would cause America to descend into chaos. In short, America could get sanctioned but other nations will be at risk of being sanctioned if they commit any future acts of aggression. There would likely be more riots and terrorism, there will likely be a much worse refugee crisis caused both by climate change and acts of aggression by ISIS or a nation. There could be more online communities that provide a source of humanitarian relief and charity, some online communities will run on bitcoin(or other forms of cryptocurrency) so that they can afford more resources to help people with.I have once predicted that there will be a mass migration of Christians from North Africa due to Islamic radicalism, well as of 2019 there already are Christians in Nigeria (North Africa!) being beheaded by ISIS so a mass migration from North Africa is very possible, in fact the whole Arab Spring and its neighbors could produce masses of migrants due to the continuous descent into chaos. Out of all the Muslim nations Turkey-Saudi Arabia-Iran-U.A.E appear to be the most stable while others are highly vulnerable, I have a good feeling about U.A.E solely because it has many long-term goals to ensure economic security so I can see them having a good influence on Iran and Saudi Arabia, U.A.E will likely make trade deals with China and China could offer U.A.E military protection thus protecting the U.A.E from Saudi Arabia and Iran since the risk of a war going on in the Persian Gulf is high.Dubai will become a more important city and will become a cultural as well as scientific center, much of its workforce would likely be desperate people from South Asia looking for work. If a new superpower enters world-stage then the West could face sanctions for acts of war against the Arab Spring, especially if the new power is disapproving towards the West, if the West is sanctioned then it will enter a long-term economic depression and could be forced to house refugees.Populism will spread as more people feel like they are living through a crisis, populist candidates appeal to people by presenting themselves as the solution to their crisis. Populism has been on the rise in the 2010s and many people believe that most populist movements have been right-wing, the most common theme of 2010s-populism are anti-immigration and America/Britain first, those populist movements have resulted in Brexit and Donald Trumps presidency.If populism continues to spread in the 2020s then we will see more and more nations implementing anti-emigration policies and we will see them turn away from globalization as they retreat into the concerns of their own nation. The European Union will decay due to countries leaving, the United Nations too will decay as countries start to defy and leave so they can do their own thing, globalization is at a big risk in the 2020s. Largely due to technology more and more people will begin to lose their jobs, and more people will lose their homes to man-made disasters. Self-driving cars will begin to render Uber Drivers and Taxi drivers obsolete, mass-production is becoming more automatic so more people who work in mass-production will lose their jobs, self-checkout machines in shops will continue to slowly render retailers obsolete. Newspapers are dead, and soon TV will be.Nations will be able to provide more resources with robots but there will be less consumers since not many people would be able to afford to buy many things, this would cause a worldwide economic crisis and we are overdue for a 1920s-style economic crash.What will the government do with all those homeless and unemployed people? Universal income will be the most likely solution but it is highly unlikely that many people would live comfortably since they will have to work very hard to survive and you'd have to be very lucky to get a job, in turn people will begin to reject the government and the system, some (hopefully many) people could turn to online communities to support one another and due to the failing economy will turn to cryptocurrency which they use to support themselves. The Sagrada Familia will finally be complete, I think it would be nice to make the wonder of Sagrada Familia the icon of the 2020s. Other projects will be completed as well such as The London Super Sewer, The Giant Magellan Telescope, The Square Kilometer Array radio telescope, a few big bridges (and a tunnel for boats in Norway) and a few new railways here and there. There will be at least a few major space achievements thanks to Elon Musk and some privatized science projects will offer few more major breakthroughs in science, the first manned mission to Mars is scheduled in the 2020s but its chance for success is low due to the many risks and dangers, space junk will become a much bigger problem and will need to be cleaned up before we will never be able to leave the Earth. The mission to Mars would likely be re-scheduled or postponed. 3D printing is expected to enter mainstream which in itself will change many things, 3D printing could even render some shops obsolete because you could print whatever stuff you want at home instead of going to a shop looking for what you want, a creator sub-culture may develop from 3D printing enthusiasts.Vertical farms are expected to be erected for the first time in cities, this trend will grow because agriculture is also expected to fail in the long-run so there is a lot of funding put into vertical farming because vertical farming could replace conventional field farming, in the 2020s however vertical farms will only generate a very small percentage of food and its produce would not be sold in mainstream shops for a while.Lab grown meat will be a new growing trend in the 2020s, but its adoption will be slow due to skepticism and lack of popularity. Will there be wars? Likely more than the 2010s.Because not much has been resolved at 2019 we can expect things to grow more tense, especially since we are all facing an impending global warming crisis and a decline of globalization. Russia and China will become more dominant and influential throughout the world, developing countries will bear the brunt of climate change while the developed countries are increasingly destabilized by the flocks of refugees flooding in, developing countries could be reduced into war-zones like Syria in the 2010s.The trade-wars between America and China could involve other world powers and it could escalate into the 2nd Cold War, with a Cold War there is always the chance of a 3rd World War looming.The west will decay as the western economy worsens, Russia and China would exploit whatever resource they can get with their new influence in a decaying world but their economic growth will be fragile too.China is threatened by the loss of fresh water once the Himalayan ice melts, much of Chinese agriculture is threatened by floods, when the Chinese eco-system fails then you can expect them to attack their neighbours or best-case scenario demand resources from their allies.Russia is threatened by the same thing that will give them economic prosperity, global warming, when the ice melts the methane would doom us all and will also release long-forgotten epidemics into our world, Russia will face a huge refugee crisis coming from the south due to water shortages so you can expect Russia to heavily enforce their borders.European politics will change drastically due to responses from refugees, if Europe refuses most refugees then it is possible that armies of angry refugees could invade Europe in the future.Africa is gaining so much but that growth will not be expected to last due to climate change, water wars reduce some areas into anarchy like Libya in the 2010s, Nigeria-Ethiopia-South Africa would likely be the most prosperous countries of the continent, the African countries that are developing would likely begin to adopt the same lifestyle as the West is living like eating fast food and being online all day long. I do not know much about South America but some parts appear to be on a verge of political change and turmoil, I do believe that they are at risk for water shortages due to melting ice in the Andes, I can't see them stopping the destruction of the Amazon so that will be ongoing. South America will grow economically but like the rest of the world it will be a highly vulnerable growth.Australia will continue to be burnt alive by wildfires, we should start seeing more and more Australians moving to colder areas such as Tasmania New Zealand and Britain. Indonesia will continue to destroy their rain-forests to make money out of palm oil, don't know what their political situation would be though but would most likely go down the capitalist path. All in all the 2020s will be a time of disruption, the pace of life will get faster and faster, fake news and deep fakes will spread, misinformation will be rife, as the internet spreads and becomes more disruptive more restrictions will be put on the internet, because we are growing more dependent on technology cyber-attacks or power-cuts could bring us back to the late 20th century, people will grow more scared and desperate and may turn to drastic courses of action if said course of action is the only solution.We are at risk of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and bird flu, obesity and depression will become a bigger burden than it already is, transgender people will be the new normal as people are now coming out as transhuman, in some parts of cities driving a car could be banned because of driverless cars replacing transportation in some city centers, cars are switching to hybrid/electricity as electric car plugs appear in many built-up areas, more and more people have had their DNA stored into a database and I can't say for sure how this data will be used. Online communities give me hope, and I hope that online communities become so rich with cryptocurrency and popular that when the decaying society that thrived in the 20th century fails we got the new online society to fall back onto and rebuild a new society from scratch instead of trying to rebuilt a society that failed us. I wish us all the best of luck. --------- reply to user: I think you are definitely right about 2020 Britain being pretty much the same as 2019 Britain except that it could get worse especially since the NHS is in the process of being privatized which sucks for me too because I am a Type 1 Diabetic, I am inclined to think that Boris Johnson will resign in the near future just to be replaced by another equally unqualified/unpopular Tory. I am going to be a bit controversial and biased but I want to blame Democracy for the situation that Britain is in right now and I want to explain why I am skeptical towards Democracy.So the idea of Democracy is to get the public to choose who becomes the leader and its down to the public to make that important choice, but many people do not want to run the country and many people do not know what is best for their country.In a Democratic society the best way to win a vote is to promise the public everything and appeal to them, you don't have to be good at politics to win and you don't have to tell people of your true intentions all you have to do is lie and be charismatic. Politicians probably hire professional psychologists to trick people into voting for them because they know how to trick the system to get them into the position that they both don't deserve or are qualified for. Its no wonder why Politicians are losing their efficiency, they do it as a job because many politicians do not need to be good at running a country to become the leader and like I said they just need to know what the people want to hear and to put on a charismatic face.I believe that running the country should be reserved for those who want to run the country and have the countries best interest at heart, it should be reserved for professionals who know what they are doing and have had years of training as well as experience. In a Democracy if you get two candidates, one is a businessman who is very charismatic but only knows about business, the other one is a ex-Sergeant who has had 20 years of experience in the administrative field but he is not as charismatic. Even though the Businessman is less qualified he will win because he is charismatic and knows how to trick people into voting for him instead of the professional, repeat this process and you'll end up with a very ineffective government or circus full of charismatic millionaires who trick and lie to the public to maintain their lofty position in society. And that is probably how Britain ended up with the government it has, people have been lied to and people don't know who is best for their country so we end up voting for the wrong people or get tricked into believing that Democracy is the best form of government.Sadly Democracy will put Britain(as well as other nations) at risk of a power hungry Populist who will present him/herself as against the present government and will use his/her charisma to appeal to us to make us believe that the Populist is the solution to all of our problems caused by the government, but once the Populist gets elected s/he will show his/her true colors and the public will soon regret their vote.This process will keep repeating itself while we have Democracy, I believe that its not working and maybe we are better off leaving our politics to the professionals elected by professionals. I also want to thank you for all the replies you posted on my 2020s posts, they have helped keeping the 2020s posts alive. Again, thank you. --------------------- reply to user: Not only that but many people are also misinformed because Democratic candidates lie and be all fake to get votes and on top that they also spread rumors about other candidates or pretty much anything so that they'll get more votes, its bad because not only many people already don't know what is best for their country but they will find it very difficult to know for sure what will be best because of all the lies and misinformation. --------------------- reply to user: Its scary that some people out there actually believe that Jeremy Corbyn is anti-semetic, its such a ridiculous and desperate accusation just to make Jeremy Corbyn look bad and lose. And its scary because if people actually believe those bogus anti-Semetic accusations then it just shows how much the media controls us all.Donald Trump is indeed right about journalists and fake news being an issue, but I think the reason why journalism is such a joke in America is because it is privatized and they are becoming desperate so that they can survive kinda like 'IT' from the Steven King novel.Capitalism and privatization can corrupt journalism because capitalism makes journalism more about money and getting attention so it degenerates into what it currently is, but Donald Trump is very capitalist, which could mean that Donald Trump is a cause of journalism gone wrong and he is getting backlash from the world he helped to create whether he knows it or not. Journalism does need to be regulated, especially now we are becoming fully aware of how powerful mass media can be. I could be blaming capitalism because of mass media and it could turn out that capitalism isn't to blame after all, but I still believe that its probably best for journalism to just focus on entertainment and to leave actual news to a more professional environment where the professionals highly focus on telling the people about unbiased truths. ------------------------------
I’ve been losing sleep. I don’t think I’m particularly special in that regard, I think everyone has been losing sleep these days. A global pandemic tends to do that to people. Yet the thing that has been keeping me awake isn’t the virus. I’ve been losing sleep over an old couch I once crossed paths with. It’s been eight years, I want to believe that I’ve put the past behind me, but being locked in a house for a couple of weeks has made it impossible to not dwell on the past. The memory of the couch started off as a fleeting thought over my morning coffee, but as days have turned into weeks that memory has grown into a distinct vision of madness. What I saw during those three drunken nights in December of 2012 has become an unavoidable part of reality. I can’t rest until I process it. So since we have a nice little Internet campfire going here I figured I would tell you guys a story. Hopefully it will let me put this whole part of my past to rest and maybe it will take your mind off of what is happening outside. So kick back and let me tell you a tale of love and loss, of broken teenage hearts, of surviving in a crumbling world. Let me tell you a story about the couch that tried to seduce me. I was nineteen, hung-over and heartbroken. I was also stuck in a foreign country. Well, to call Estonia a foreign country would be a bit of a long shot, I had lived there for a good five years of my life. It was in Estonia that I lived out most of my teenage years. This was where I had smoked my first cigarette, had my first drink, fell in love for the first time. I was dragged in when I was thirteen by my parents; they had business in Tallinn and wherever they went I went. At eighteen, when my parent’s contracts ran out, I was forced back home. Their business with Estonia was done. Mine was not. By nineteen I was back. As soon as I got off the plane I turned my phone on and checked my messages. She didn’t write to me. My soul, positioned somewhere slightly above my abdomen, twitched in discomfort. It was a familiar twitch, I had felt it in the bus to the airport, I had felt it in the security check, I had felt it when I boarded the flight to Tallinn and as soon as I got off the plane the twitch was back with a vengeance. The discomfort I was feeling in my chest was a realization. It was the realization that I had emptied out most of my already slim bank account on a one-way ticket halfway across the continent to see my old high-school sweetheart who wasn’t interested in seeing me. It was the realization that as much as I consciously knew the trip was a bad idea, I couldn’t resist going. I dragged my feet towards the arrivals hall. When it became obvious that Saale was dodging my messages I panicked. There was no place for me to crash, I had no money for a flight, hell, I had no money for food. As I boarded the plane to Estonia I sent off a panicked text message to my old band-mate: ‘Made horrible mistake. Landing in Tallinn in three hours. Can I crash at yours?’ Within two minutes there was a reply: ‘OK. Will come with Maarja. See you soon.’ Karl wasn’t very chatty, but he was always there when needed. The two of them were waiting for me as soon as I walked out into the arrival hall. They barely changed. Karl was still a giant of man. His long hair had gotten longer and the beard he had rocked since seventeen had gotten thicker, the guy looked like Jesus on steroids if Jesus was really into heavy metal and wore glasses. Next to Karl stood Maarja, she wore a garish yellow coat. The pink streak in her hair she’d been so proud of back in middle school was pinker than ever. “JAAMEEES! YOU’RE BACK!” Maarja yelled in her high-pitched faux-English accent before nearly tackling me to the ground. “It’s been too long honey! Too long!” She hadn’t changed a bit since I left the country. Maarja was still a pint-sized bolt of energy. The two of them made for an odd couple. “Welcome back, Friend,” Karl said after Maarja was done squeezing me. He wasn’t one for physical contact, Karl settled on a simple pat on the shoulder that challenged my entire skeletal structure. The three of us made our way outside to catch a bus to the center. Even after living in Estonia for five years I still wasn’t used to the winters. As soon as we walked out into the sub-zero temperature I felt decidedly like a foreigner. We caught up on the small things while we waited for the bus. Karl and Maarja had officially moved in together, the band that Karl and me started up in high-school had broken up, Maarja was in the process of getting a bachelors degree of psychology and Karl was really into some crypto-currency stuff that went completely over my head. I couldn’t get much out of me; the cold was taking a real toll on my system. Whenever I opened my mouth to talk about my miserable little life I simply ended up chattering my teeth. As soon as we got on the bus I threw myself at the nearest heating vent. “So, James,” Maarja said as soon as we got on the bus, “You still talk to Saale?” When I turned away from the heater to face her she froze, “I mean, we don’t have to talk about, forget I asked.” “Do I look that bad?” While Maarja searched for a diplomatic answer Karl stepped in with his special brand of honesty, “You look very tired and unhappy.” “Well, I am happy to see you guys and I am excited to be here, but, yeah,” I decided to get the conversation out of the way, “We tried two months of long-distance, but Skype only gets you so far. Broke up in late July. After we split we agreed to not talk for a couple of months, to give each other some time to clear the system and all that. Keeping radio silence was hard at first but after a couple of weeks I started to get used to it. I was learning to live without her. Things were starting to straighten up, I even took a stab at dating but when the holidays rolled around the loneliness came back. On Christmas I figured I’d throw Saale a holiday message. She wrote back. We started chatting on a daily basis.” The bus bounced through my old neighborhood. Memories of my drunken youth jumped at me from every corner, most of those memories involved Saale. “Last night we got pretty drunk,” I continued, “Things got flirty. We started talking about what we would do if we weren’t half a continent away from each other. She mentioned her parents were out of town until the end of January on some sort of an anniversary trip. I offered to fly in. She told me I should. Now I’m here.” “She changed her mind?” Karl asked. “She didn’t think I was serious about flying over. Didn’t exactly check with her before I bought the ticket. She flipped out when I got it, told me to get a refund and then hung up on me when I insisted on meeting up. She hasn’t answered any of my messages since.” A part of me felt good to get the story out of my system but saying it out loud just added to the absurdity. I could have not bought the ticket, I could have gotten a refund, I could have not gotten on that plane. Everything could have been avoided, but nineteen year old me leaped at the opportunity for a grand romantic gesture like a hungry animal. “Very strange,” Karl finally said after considering my story. He shot a look over to Maarja, as if she was the ambassador to all women-kind, “Very strange, right?” Maarja shrugged. Maarja’s house was the crown jewel of my high-school social life. It was a three-apartment unit that was built at some point before the world wars. This place was old, as you would walk around the little apartment it would creak, but it made for a perfect party place. Maarja had inherited the apartment from her grandma at sixteen; the Estonians saw child rearing as a fairly independent process. If she couldn’t survive on her own at sixteen she probably couldn’t make it at thirty, a bit of responsibility would prepare her for the frigid world outside. Maarja used her newly found independence to throw the biggest house parties that the neighborhood had ever seen. Maarja’s place was perfect for booze filled gatherings. It was spacious enough to hold any drinking game we could dream up, there was a nice terrace for smoking and the neighbors were either deaf, completely apathetic about teenage drinking or both. As soon as the front door opened I was assaulted by memories. Visions of drunken nights on the floor of the living room, of hung-over mornings of the kitchen; the old apartment breathed with the past. For a split second a wave of gratitude for a youth well spent washed over me, but then I remembered that each of those fond memories had an element I wanted to block out. Most of the fun I had in the apartment had been with Saale by my side. Maarja and Karl still slept on an old mattress on the floor, the walls were still covered with cut outs of boy-bands that Maarja had stuck to the wall in her tweens. The only thing that changed about their bedroom was the addition of a massive computer rig on the table. There were strange ventilators and cooling tubes and blinking lights, the machine looked like something straight out of a sci-fi flick. “That’s my mining rig,” Karl said proudly. I nodded as if I understood what he was talking about. “Where are the rats?” I asked, noticing the empty cage on Maarja’s wardrobe. Back in the day Maarja had two rats, Fritz and The Duchess. She would keep them in the cage most of the time, but whenever the night reached a certain point of drunkenness Maarja would sneak over to her bedroom and come out with the two animals. If you saw Maarja with two rats running up and down her body you knew the night was really going to become a rager. “The Duchess died last week,” Maarja said with a glint of sorrow, “Fritz wasn’t taking it well. Think the little guy was depressed being in the cage all alone, so I’m letting him roam around the house for the time being. Hopefully a bit of freedom will cheer him up.” As if he had heard his name, Fritz peeked out from behind the wardrobe. The albino rat raised his snout in the air, sniffed for a bit and then lumbered off to the living room. The years had taken their toll on Fritz, he no longer moved with the youthful energy I was used to, but the one part of him that I remembered had not changed. Fritz still had balls that were disproportionately giant to his body. As he moved away from us he dragged them behind him with Sisyphean effort. “So, which hostel are you crashing at?” Maarja asked. A lump manifested in my throat. I looked around the cramped apartment. Outside of the mattress there was nowhere for me to sleep. I didn’t have any money for a hostel. “Ah, I’m just kidding. You’re crashing here. We owe you anyway,” Maarja said with good cheer. “For what?” I asked, relieved that I wasn’t homeless. “Financing the booze and cigarettes back in the day, might have ended up a nun if it weren’t for you,” she said with a grin. It was true, throughout high school I had been the main financier of our misadventures, my parents had foreign money and that money went pretty far by Estonian standards. More importantly though; when everyone was sixteen I looked twelve. According to the law of teen streets, the late bloomer provides the dough for those who can buy stuff without ID. “You’ll sleep on the couch, we just haven’t had the time to get it out of the garage. How about you and Karl drag it in while I make some tea?” Even though it was a bright winter day outside the garage was in near darkness. The only thing that illuminated the cramped musty room was a single ray of light shining in through a cracked skylight. The garage was covered in flimsy shelves that buckled beneath the weight of greasy machine parts. In the center of the garage lay a couch shaped object covered with a large, stained cloth. Karl grabbed ahold the cloth and was about to pull it away, but a thought struck him. “James, if I tell you something will you not tell Maarja?” He asked, letting the cloth drop back down to the floor. He looked straight at me; his small eyes were probing me for trustworthiness. “Well, depends on what it is,” I said, “Don’t need help burying a body, right?” “No,” Karl’s intensity broke into a smile, “It is nothing illegal. Just a secret.” He strode towards one of the rickety shelves and plunged his hand deep into its depths. After a moment of rustling he pulled out a small box. He opened it. Even though the garage was dark, and even though the diamond was tiny, you could see a little glimmer. Karl’s eyes shone twice as bright. “Wow man,” I said, realizing how quickly the world was moving on, “Congratulations!” Maarja and Karl would get married and I would be at their wedding alone. As I stood in that garage the thought that I would always be alone gushed dread through my veins. We used to joke about how Saale and me would get hitched before the two of them did. Those jokes felt cruel now. Maarja and Karl would get married and one day Saale would get married too. She would get married to someone who wasn’t me. “I’m really happy for you.” “I want to ask her father soon. He does not like me much, but I think I can show him that I can provide for his daughter. This Bitcoin thing will be big soon James, in a couple of years me and Maarja will be rich.” Karl put the box back into its hiding place. “Promise not to tell her, yes?” “Promise,” I said with as much candor as I could muster, but my mind was elsewhere. My mind was floating disembodied in a bright church, watching my would-be-wife get married to someone else. “James,” Karl’s paw on my shoulder brought me back into reality, “You will be okay. I know you are worried about Saale, but you still have us. We will drink this away.” He smiled. I tried to smile back. “Let’s get this couch, shall we?” He pulled away at the cloth that covered the couch. Enough dust flew off into the air to send us both into a coughing fit. The room danced with dirty particles. Yet from behind the veil of powder I could see it. I could see the couch. The thing was ancient, a couch straight out of the early days of the Soviet Union. Its flowery upholstery was covered in stains that just screamed history. It was as if the piece of furniture had been used for barricades in the defense of Stalingrad and lived to talk about it. Filth filled its rumpled cloth, it stood on firm wooden legs that seemed to have survived multiple generations of being clawed at, it was as if the thing was simply biding its time until its true masters came back to retrieve it. The couch was old, but somehow in that dark garage, in that gust of earthly smoke, there was something alluring about it. It looked ratty but comfortable, even inviting. For a split second I was sure that the couch had winked at me with its cushioning. Then the dust settled and it was just a piece of furniture. Karl grabbed one side of the couch, I grabbed the other and we started to haul the thing towards the living room. We had left the garage, but there was still tension in the air. I was still thinking about Saale getting married to someone who wasn’t me. It was still as if Karl and me were meant to have a serious discussion. Neither of us were comfortable. “I lost my virginity on this couch,” I shared, hoping to relax the situation. Karl grinned, accepting the levity, “Gross.” We dragged the couch to the living room and then joined Maarja in the kitchen. Back in the day her kitchen table was the go-to place to gather before drinking and after drinking. We would sit around and shoot the shit and wait for someone to drop off the booze for the evening or the hung-over pizza for the morning. Yet as we sat there, trying to make small talk, one of the chairs was empty and it made all the difference. I couldn’t focus on anything that was being said around me, all I could think about was how Saale used to sit next to me. All I could think about were her long legs on my lap, her long fiery hair, her laughter. “How about we sweeten the evening with a bit of moonshine?” Maarja asked, as she fished a clear bottle out of the kitchen counter, “Karl and me are going to lunch with my parents tomorrow though, so no hangovers.” Karl cheered on the promise of alcohol, but not even drink could lift my spirits. My eyes shifted from Saale’s empty seat to the couch. All I wanted to do was lie down and fall asleep for a thousand years. “Guys, I appreciate the hospitality but I’m really tired. How about we drink tomorrow?” I said. Karl and Maarja looked concerned, this was the first time they had ever seen me refuse booze. “Are you sure you’re okay honey? We can talk about it if you want to,” Maarja suggested. I insisted I was fine; I just needed to get some rest. That didn’t convince her, but she yielded, “Well, we’ll be in my room if you need us.” Her and Karl shuffled off to her bedroom. I laid down on the couch. From the other room I could hear them talk. Maarja talked in concerned whispers whilst Karl spoke at full volume, it didn’t make much of a difference, even after five years of being in the country I still couldn’t understand Estonian. I could hear my name being mentioned though. They were concerned about the emotional wreck that was crashing on their couch. I dragged my friends into my mess. It was all so humiliating; I was far from home, broke and broken. I wanted to die. ‘Easy there Tiger, don’t think like that,’ a faint voice emerged from the back of my head, ‘Things might not seem great right now, but look on the bright side, at least you’re on a comfortable couch.’ The voice was right; the couch was indeed comfortable. ‘All you need is a bit of a distraction to forget about your broken heart. Some booze, some dope, maybe a bit of love and you’ll be good as new.’ It was as if the suave voice turned a switch in my mind. Suddenly the tightness in my chest eased, a burst of joy started to bubble in my abdomen. My fingers started to trace the sides of the upholstery. The voice giggled, ‘That’s the spirit Tiger, just relax, you’re fine as long as you’re here with me.’ The universe felt lighter, my feelings of dread faded away and were replaced with an electric anticipation. I needed a drink to celebrate. I opened the door to Maarja’s bedroom. She was lounging on the mattress reading a psych textbook. Karl was watching bar graphs on the computer. “Hey guys,” I peeked in, “I feel a bit better now, how about those drinks?” They both grinned. We drank. In the moment I didn’t give much thought to the voice in my head, my internal monologue was turned up a notch since the break-up anyway. I was used to hearing thoughts that I consciously didn’t want to consider; the silky voice that was telling me that things would be okay was a welcome distraction. I sunk into the couch and I let the night carry me away. ‘See Tiger? Isn’t it nice to be here? Isn’t life just swell on this little old couch?’ it would say. I nodded along. We drank more. All thoughts of avoiding hangovers were let go; the liquor poured freely. At some point Maarja emerged out of her room with Fritz on her shoulder. We celebrated the tradition of our youth but the rat was sluggish, far too old to crawl around on her body. After a couple of minutes Maarja gave up on playing with the rat. She put him on the ground. Fritz simply walked around the room dragging his testacles behind him like a ball and chain. We drank more. Karl lumbered up to his feet and went to fetch his guitar. Maarja was out having a cigarette. I was far too comfortable on the couch. Having a moment to myself I watched the rat. Fritz had spent the past couple of minutes roaming the living room and sniffing at my backpack. Yet suddenly something caught his attention, he sniffed at the air, his whiskers bouncing in curiosity. Then he looked towards the couch. The old rat sprung to his hind legs and turned towards me. It was as if his beady eyes were locked to the piece of furniture. ‘Oh Tiger, don’t think about the stupid rat. Look, here comes Karl, let’s stop thinking about stupid things and listen to him play.’ Oh and how he could play. To say that Karl lacked warmth would be an understatement, communicating with the guy often felt like having a conversation with a pile of awkwardly stacked encyclopedias, but as soon as he would bring out the guitar he would ooze personality. Somehow, with those hulking fingers of his, Karl had managed to make the strings sing the gentlest of tones. Maarja and me sang along out of key as the night went on. ‘Just like the good old days, Tiger, you’re here and you’re happy. Focus on the positives, focus on the present,’ the voice told me. I followed the advice, until I couldn’t. It was as if a spell had been broken. As soon as I heard those opening chords, as soon as I realized what Karl was playing my stomach sank. It was that Rolling Stones song. Saale and me had danced to it once upon a time. Memories of our first night together came rushing into my mind. The Saale shaped hole in my heart throbbed with pain. I got up to splash some water on my face. Karl shifted his performance into a serenade for Maarja. The tiles in the bathroom were freezing but I was willing to withstand the pain if it meant I could get further away from the song. I stood there, willing to wait it out, but the memories just kept on floating back. I was standing in the same bathroom I stood in the night that I met Saale. I could see traces of a sixteen-year old in my face. The music kept on building. Saale’s lily perfume filled my nostrils. I could remember the fullness of her lips before our first kiss. The images were cascading on top of each other, ripping away at my sanity, ready to plunge me into a panic attack. But then they stopped. The music stopped. I peeked out of the door. Karl had chucked his guitar over to the side. His serenade had given way to a heavy make out session. Him and Maarja were all over each other. “Guys, I’m going to go out for a cigarette,” I announced. The two of them looked up at me dazed and drunk. “Take the keys honey, I think we’re going to bed.” I hoped that the dial tone would block out Maarja’s moans but it didn’t. Not only did I have to listen to a loving couple have sex, I also had to listen to world’s quietest dial tone as I was reminded that Saale did not want to talk to me. I stood out there in the freezing cold smoking one cigarette after another. It was just me, the starless sky and Maarja’s moans. Karl lasted for a quarter a pack before their bedroom quieted down. I tried calling Saale one more time and then went back inside. By the time I stumbled to the couch I could already hear snoring coming from the bedroom. But there was another sound in the apartment, something much quieter, something I almost didn’t notice. Scratching. Luckily I managed to prop myself up against the couch before I sat on him. As I tried to regain my balance I realized just how drunk I was. Fritz was on the couch, furiously scratching into its upholstery. He looked up at the drunken figure hovering over him for a split second and then went back to work. Those little claws scratched with the ferocity of a pup. It was as if Fritz was two years younger. I picked him up by his scruff and tried taking him off the couch. When I lifted him off the ground the rat seemed confused for just a split second before- ‘Aiiieee’ Fritz screamed the world’s tiniest scream and then bit me in the finger. He dropped to the ground and ran beneath a nearby wardrobe. He hid beneath it and watched me. I was too drunk and tired to care. I laid down on the couch and exhaled. ‘Welcome back Tiger, you look tired. Let me keep you company. Yes, life is hard, but if you really appreciate the moment it can be pretty enjoyable. Lie down here, let me keep you hold you. Let’s get to know each other better.’ I could smell floral perfume. I closed my eyes and drifted off to a deep sleep. (Next part)
Alex de Vries, a bitcoin specialist at PwC, estimates that the current global power consumption for the servers that run bitcoin’s software is a minimum of 2.55 gigawatts (GW), which amounts to You've heard of Bitcoin and you're ready to get your hands on some digital wealth. However, this may be easier said than done. When you "mine" Bitcoin, you actually verify Bitcoin transactions in the public, decentralized ledger of Bitcoin transactions (called the blockchain).Every time you find a new block to add to the chain, the system gives you some Bitcoin as a reward. Buy Bitcoin Worldwide, nor any of its owners, employees or agents, are licensed broker-dealers, investment advisors, or hold any relevant distinction or title with respect to investing. Buy Bitcoin Worldwide does not promote, facilitate or engage in futures, options contracts or any other form of derivatives trading. Bitcoin Superstar and Bitcoin Era are currently two of the most popular bitcoin investment schemes, but it does not take long to spot how scammy their websites are. For a start, they both have the A Bitcoin private key (ECC key) is an integer between one and about 10^77. This may not seem like much of a selection, but for practical purposes it's essentially infinite. If you could process one trillion private keys per second, it would take more than one million times the age of the universe to count them all.
NEW-BITCOIN PRIVATE KEY FINDER, BRUTE FORCE BITCOIN ADDRESSES AN INSTANTLY IMPORT AND SPENT PVT KEYS
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