Notebook

5. Trolling is a form of high art that uses cognitive dissonance as its canvas.

12:15 PM – August 26, 2015 Permalink

In reality: there is no such thing as trolling. There is only getting trolled.


4. On Higher Transaction Fees

04:48 PM – June 15, 2015 Permalink

Let’s imagine Bitcoin fees increase 10-fold. This would mean a transaction would cost (gasp!) 20 cents. What is the nature of this fee?

Now take a look at credit card processing fees. What is the nature of these fees?

Oh, and at the very least, they are 20 cents (plus additional fees).


Visa annual income (source)

Many bitcoiners dread the scalability problem, assuming higher fees will detract adoption. As we can see, this is silly for a few reasons. First, Bitcoin competes with other currencies, not other payment systems per se. When considering whether Bitcoin adoption will occur, we must look at transaction costs of other currencies vs. Bitcoin, not transaction costs of Visa or PayPal vs. Bitcoin. As shown below, Bitcoin blows the competition out of the water on all fronts. Second, even on these grounds, it will take a very large increase in fees before we can even imagine Bitcoin not competing as a payment system. Even at a higher price than credit cards, users would be paying but a reasonable premium for incredible trustless benefits that cannot be understated.

It should also be pointed out that merely finding a way to keep fees low doesn’t spur adoption. I have never heard anyone ever say, “Well, I’m really interested in this Bitcoin thing, but I hear it costs a whole penny to send money instantly to anyone in the world on an extremely secure, decentralized ledger.”

If fees are your concern for Bitcoin, you are not ready for Bitcoin.


3. Amor Fati

03:50 PM – June 15, 2015 Permalink

I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things; then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful. Amor fati: let that be my love henceforth! I do not want to wage war against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be my only negation. And all in all and on the whole: some day I wish to be only a Yes-sayer.

— Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science

Do not seek for things to happen the way you want them to; rather, wish that what happens happen the way it happens: then you will be happy.

— Epictetus, The Enchiridion

All that is in accord with you is in accord with me, O World! Nothing which occurs at the right time for you comes too soon or too late for me. All that your seasons produce, O Nature, is fruit for me. It is from you that all things come: all things are within you, and all things move toward you.

— Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, IV.23


2. The Government Needs Crypto-Anarchy

03:08 PM – June 12, 2015 Permalink

Government surveillance programs have always used the nothing to hide argument as a defense of their work. In a certain sense, it’s great advice for dealing with Cypherpunk nightmares.

Unfortunately (for them), the government does not take its own advice, and employees are living those nightmares:

I’ve worked for the government for 26 years. I went through a security clearance when I was first hired. Then after 9/11, they started doing investigations every five years. My last one was in 2011. They’re typical for people who are part of federal law enforcement. FBI agents used to do them, but at some point it switched over to OPM. They have information on my life and everyone in it for the last 26 years. Now some criminal organization or foreign government has it. It is an Orwell nightmare.

Source: http://fusion.net/story/149831/opm-hack-happened-to-me/

Government employees of all levels need crypto-anarchy just as much as any dark net drug peddler. Everyone has something to hide, and strong crypto is all we have. From their perspective, the powers that be should hope that they can at least overcome their own cognitive dissonance on encryption, back doors, and security. With everything to hide, they have everything to fear.

Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin encrypting data.

— H. L. Mencken, Prejudices, First Series (1919)</cite>

Update

Minutes after this post was published, AP tweeted the following:

Story here: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/d842d757851b4a59aca2aecf2f31995a/union-says-all-federal-workers-fell-victim-hackers

Maybe someone somewhere will eventually learn something?


1. Home is where the air-gapped computer is.

10:36 PM – May 15, 2015 Permalink

A man’s home is his castle, and every castle needs a moat. http://trilema.com/2013/how-to-airgap-a-practical-guide/