Tuesday, August 27, 2019

The Satisfaction Of Creation

There is a certain form of unhappiness and discontent that I see with people past a certain age (tail end of college) who are mainly consumers. They live in a strange sort of perpetual childhood where they are defined by what they are purchasing and or using, whether it be food or drink or entertainment or clothes or electronics. They seem fundamentally unsatisfied with life and kind of aimless in how they spend their time, not realizing just how important it is to be doing active and creative things while young, since good and bad are both exponential when spread over time and compounded.

Ever since I can remember, I have been creating things. Whether it be little drawings, writing, music, or programming, I have almost always been in the mental state of somebody who is trying to make stuff rather than create stuff. Most of the stuff I make is not all that complicated or even of amazing quality, but it has had a very profound effect on how I perceive and process things. Every week and every month, I can look back at what I have created or worked on and see tangible progress. I can also see the things I wish I did better at or didn't make progress on that I thought I would make progress on. This sort of iterative and constant feedback makes me more aware of how I'm spending my time and energy as well as being a form of positive reinforcement that helps be stay motivated and learning how to do things in a better and more skillful manner.

There is a certain satisfaction that comes from creation that can't be found by watching a movie or playing a video game or eating nice food or buying a new car. There is a sort of healthy and sustainable aspect to it that is kind of hard to describe that can only be felt from the act of creation. I imagine that this is the same sort of feeling that people have when they or their wife gives birth, where previously there was something inside of you that didn't exist in its current form, then you made it exist in its current form. This also carries with it a sort of responsibility, because the more you create, the more you realize that whatever it is you are creating is reflective of who you are on the inside, which means that you end up wanting to portray increasingly specific aspects of your self in your creations, which means you end up being a much more careful thinker and creator, which transfers overs to non-directly creative aspects of your life, such as your interpersonal relationships as well as how you structure your day to day habits.

While I don't think that being creative is something everybody can be good at, being that there are natural upper limits to intelligence as well other factors like focus and lateral thinking, it is a shame that more people don't spend a larger amount of their time creating rather than consuming. No matter where I end up in life and how successful or unsuccessful I am in the future, I will always have an increasing amount of self-made reference points that I can look back on and know I spent my time as best as I could. This results in me being more grounded in certain ways than I was prior, something that seems to be the opposite of what I see happening to individuals who are primarily consumers.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Uber Economy

Up until very recently, taxis were highly regulated affairs. Now, there are apps like Uber and Lyft that have made the taxi industry more of a free for all, and this has had a lot of cascading effects that most people are not aware of. Historically, being a taxi driver meant you had to work for a bigger company who paid for medallions in order to be allowed to operate in various cities. This meant that there were certain standards and expectations, but also better pay for the drivers. This is not the case with invention and success of apps like Uber and Lyft.

Being a taxi driver has now been turned into a high turnover business, because the payoff isn’t good enough to support anybody who tries to do it full time. Uber and Lyft have outsourced the labor pool to a level of competition that makes it so only people who are unable to do cost benefit analysis are involved. This doesn’t matter to the companies, because they get a cut of every drive without incurring any of the costs like spent time and wear and tear on vehicles.

Prior to the prevalence of smartphones, this sort of business model wasn’t feasible. In order to succeed, Uber and Lyft have allegedly bent a lot of laws from the beginning of their operations, knowing that by the time anybody noticed what they were doing that would mean that they had a significant amount of people using their service, which would mean they would have a lot of revenue, which would mean that they could pay lawyers and lobbyists to make their alleged legal improprieties inconsequential. This strategy worked.

Most of the people who drive for Uber and Lyft are losers. These are the people who get involved in things like Cutco or other multi level marketing endevours, not understanding that it’s almost impossible to run a profit for time invested. Traditional taxi drivers haven’t been losers, but they are now being increasingly priced out of operating a cab, because cabs are getting less use because they are less competitive than Uber and Lyft.

This sort of setup sounds nice on the surface, but it is a race to the bottom in terms of service. Eventually, everybody who isn’t a sucker will catch on that only suckers drive Uber and Lyft trying to make money, but that won’t mean that Uber and Lyft will stop. They will continue to collect their cut of suckers, and the traditional taxi services with higher fees because they (need higher fees to pay drivers a living wage) will struggle and go out of business or cut costs and start using the same predatory tactics Uber and Lyft engage in.

This situation is not limited to taxi services. Hotels as well as apartments are other industries that being harmed by this behavior. Hotels get less traffic and have to shut down. Apartments cost more because people have figured out how to monetize apartments. This also causes problems for landlords because they are unable to control who is living in their apartments, which opens them up to problems and uncertainties that previously didn’t exist.

I don’t really think there is any proper manner to address these problems. They are essentially companies that have figured out how to exploit a tragedy of the commons and work around laws and regulations that have served to protect and sustain industries and thus the people involved in them. This will have a lot of negative side effects that can’t be predicted, but it will also have positive aspects that can’t be predicted. As always, industries and people will adjust to the shifting reality to better accommodate what is working, and what is now not working will die off.

read more at essays.paul.town

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Free Speech

Here is the deal: the people most vocal about free speech don’t actually care about free
speech. They care about speech being easily monetizable. That’s at the core of their complaints.
They shouldn’t be banned from using patreon or paypal no matter what they say. They feel that
they should be allowed to say things in a way that riles people up enough to get them to stay
engaged, without risk of any negative consequences. While this isn’t an inherently right or
wrong position, that is what the position actually is.

Most people who talk about “free speech” have never had an honest blue collar or even
white collar job where they provided value other than generating positive or negative emotions
by virtue of their words and public actions. They exist in a weird limbo-like state where if they
“lose” and all their ways to monetize talking are destroyed (this never happens and will never
happen) then they will have no skills, since their main skill is talking about an ever-impending
but never occurring obliteration as a call to action, and if they get what they say they want,
which is the ability to say whatever they want without being kicked from services that make
monetization easy, then they will have nothing to talk about anymore. As such, the most
successful of the “free speech” advocates are usually those who know how to look like they’re
doing a ton and pushing the boundaries while not actually ever doing anything or being a threat
to any real structure of power, the people who make penalties for certain types of speech.

That aside, the funniest thing is that censorship isn’t an actual thing that’s really possible
with the advent of the internet and file sharing. All somebody has to do in order to bypass all
forms of censorship is to figure out how to host torrents of text or video files saying what they
want to say, and keep their audience updated via any number of forms: email, rss, social media,
private website, public website, physical newsletter, billboard, radio ad, tv ad, youtube video, or
any platform. Of course, the most efficient manner of keeping people updated depends on the
individual seeding original content and what their content is, but it’s not hard to pretty much post
whatever you want for free. It’s just slightly harder to monetize, which is why the people who
constantly make “free speech” an issue don’t do it, in addition to most of them not being creative
enough or smart enough to figure out how to publish content outside of currently popular

A more cliche sounding but fairly straightforward free speech option for publishing
written works such as articles or updates, which could hypothetically be used in concert with
seeding torrents or used as a standalone option: is bitcoin’s blockchain. When the creator of
bitcoin sent his first transaction over bitcoin’s network, he encoded a message, the title of a
newspaper, in the transaction data. This message is visible by anybody who knows how to
decode it. The message is irrelevant. What is important is that sending messages through bitcoin
transactions is entirely possible. Furthermore, all somebody would need to do would be design
some sort of software that would be a text editor along with a bitcoin wallet with two addresses.
The editor could support markdown or really any form of formatting. The user would then
deposit bitcoin into one address or the other, and then the software could determine how many
transactions would be required to transmit all the written (or any sort) data in the transaction
details (the amount of characters that can be sent per transaction is fairly small) and then send
that many transactions back and forth from the two addresses on the bitcoin network. The cost to
post each article (or even link to torrent) would scale with the amount of information being
transmitted. Then, using the same software, there could be some central address that certain
small amounts could be deposited with transaction messages indicating the desire to be listed in
a list of all the people publishing or be taken off the list of people publishing. Then, users coulduse the same software to browse announced or private content feeds and even send donations to feeds they found useful or enjoyed.

Impossible to censor social networks with media hosting via torrent could be built with
the system I’ve just described, but chances are they won’t ever be built. Why? Because, as stated earlier, people don’t actually care about free speech but rather easy to monetize speech. In
addition, the more stuff posted, the more money it would cost for the person posting it, even
though the fees would probably be less than paying for cheap hosting of a blog. This incentive
structure would reward people who have things of value to say or share, so this incentive
structure is not conducive to the majority of people who make anything on the internet. Once
again, free speech is not something "free speech" people actually care about, but rather easy to monetize speech.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Movements and Frameworks

What is a Movement?

There is a tendency for people to want to be a part of something bigger. They want a sense of purpose, a meaning behind their day to day activities. This is why we have religion and family. The following is not about religion or family, but rather the something called a movement.

Something being a movement implies that there is an inherent purpose, some goal to move towards, something with values and statements. A movement is a synthetic version of a religion, which means at its core is a call to action. As such, you will find a similar life-cycle (although much shorter) in a movement as a religion: formation, addition of rules, disagreement, schism, reformation, redefinition, over and over and over as it gets diluted and misrepresented and not agreed upon.

Being “in a movement” is an attractive idea for disenfranchised individuals. Being disenfranchised can be justified or not, it depends on the person, but the reason for the disenfranchisement is irrelevant, because a movement appeals to the most desperate more than the comfortable and this creates an environment that pulls everything downward and degrades over time.

Who are attracted to a “movement”? The desperate, lower class, weak, poor, emotional, naive, young, scammers, and merchants. Those are the people who will join a movement. There are also more milquetoast normal individuals but they are filler that exist everywhere and do not matter or do anything besides give a small amount of money, energy, and validity to others.

A “movement” is a marketing term that results in fast growth and lots of energy, but is doomed to failure because of this very reason. It’s too unstable and attracts people with unrealistic expectations who are looking to turn their losing streaks into winning streaks. What really happens is that the few winners that are attracted to the “movement” will eventually leave the “movement” in a splinter group or by themselves and form their own offshoots and the same thing will happen until they figure out the pattern and stop investing time in these things altogether.

What is a Framework?

An important way to begin defining a framework is by defining what it is not: a movement. A movement can contain one or many frameworks that are compatible or incompatible with each other. A framework does not contain any movement. A framework is a tool. A movement is a conglomeration of tools that work with each other to varying degrees.

A good framework is not self contradictory. More details are added to the framework as time goes on. A framework is a tool. Like all tools there are poorly made frameworks. If built a shovel poorly, the shovel wouldn’t work well. It would still be a shovel just a bad one. The same pattern is true with frameworks and all other tools. They’re as good/bad as they are constructed.

A framework does not have values or emotional baggage or presidents or generals, it has a way of processing information and sorting it. It’s agnostic in the sense that anybody who is capable of understanding the framework can use it. It doesn’t matter if you’re black, white, jewish, asian, male, female, heterosexual, homosexual, transsexual, bisexual, old, young, or any other personal trait. It’s a tool anybody can use (properly or improperly), not something working towards internal goals.

A more clear illustration of frameworks would be the metric or imperial systems. Those are both tools for understanding and communicating reality, but they’re not “teams” in any real sense (although people have preferences.) Since they’re just tools, very few people getting upset or emotionally invested in somebody else’s opinion on either framework. There are always edge cases but it’s of no use to elaborate on them so lets pretend they don’t exist.

Because a framework is a tool that is seen as smaller than the person interacting with it, people with unhappy lives are not going to take life or death stances on the existence of one brand of shovel over another. People will use the framework for whatever they’re using it for, and then go do something else. A framework is ideally a complimentary asset to the person who uses it.

A movement is the inverse, in that it is generally seen as bigger than the person who is interacting with it. As such it attracts people who want to go from less to greater. This isn’t always bad, for example when there are things that need to be done on a collective scale, but it tends to attract the inverse type of person than a framework attracts. A framework is something that people use. A movement is something that people are used by, willingly or not.

(posted from essays.paul.town)

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Thoughts on Politics

This post is not something I'm going to be sharing on public social media when it's published. It's not going to be super in-depth. It's not an apology or a justification of anything I've said or done. It's not really related to anything in particular or in response to anything specific. It's simply a few observations and then the reasoning for which I'm not really politically active at the moment. I'm still friends with people in groups or communities that are politically active and this isn't meant to condemn or advise or praise or distance or bring myself closer to them. It's simply a bit of personal perspective.

Simply put, I don't really see politics as all that productive or beneficial in my current personal situation. This is not to condemn political activities done by other people, they should do their own self appraisal as to if the energy they're putting into politics is having an overall positive or negative impact on themselves and others. I have my beliefs, some that people agree with and some that people don't agree with, depending on the people, and I'm comfortable with those beliefs, but I've also come to realize that I'm comfortable living and letting live other people who have different beliefs or value systems.

I can make a positive impact by making stuff that is a benefit for people while pretty much ignoring the people who I disagree with or find distasteful. My general outlook has not changed with regards to where things are headed, but my outlook on what I can do and how I fit into a bigger picture has definitely shifted. I've also come to the conclusion that while I don't really agree with the liberal view of reality (my personal worldview actually is very leftist in certain regards), it would be crazy for me to think I could change that on a large scale. So, while I'm not changing my point of view, I've made my peace with letting the current experiment run its course while still talking about it to whoever wants to listen but not being a hassle to people who fully believe in the experiment. If it works, then I'll be wrong but I'll be happy I'm wrong. In the meantime though, I will be living my life based on the values that I think are work, which are not left wing and don't fall in line with most of today's value system. Outside of my personal circle and sphere of influence, I will just let people do what they want to, and if they ask for my advice I will be as honest as I think is appropriate and then continue not to care if they take my advice or not.

I've never really been political in an ideological sense. One of the earliest little things I wrote was that strong nationalism seemed to stem from a lack of personal achievements, and while I don't believe that to a full extent, I think there is some truth to the fact that the extremes of both the left and the right (or really extremes of anything) are populated by a large percentage of people who might not have been dealt the best deck of cards in life and are reacting to that in the best way they can. This is not to insult them or to say they're all like that, I know a lot of people with lots of different fringe beliefs and they're all extremely interesting people that I'm fond of in one way or another. It's just that in my personal experience, the more political people are, the less they seem to have going for them in the tangible world. Once again this is not a knock against people in this situation or a judgment about them, it's just an observation that seems to me to generally ring true. There are a lot of exceptions to this general trend, so please don't think that it's a blanket statement.

If I could go back to 2014-2015 with the perspective and life experience that I have now, I would definitely do a lot of things differently. But that's just a given. I don't have any regrets about how things have gone over the past few years. Through all the mistakes I've made, I've met so many interesting people and learned so many interesting lessons and points of view that I definitely wouldn't have ever been exposed to if I didn't go about things the way I did. Luckily, my mistakes, mishaps, and experiences have served as building blocks that have made me a more well rounded individual, and everybody I have formed relationships with have been exceedingly understanding and patient with my youthful excesses and sometimes puzzlingly irrational or insane escapades, and I am extremely grateful for that. Unfortunately, I've seen the leeway and understanding that has been given to me not extended to a lot of people I'm quite fond of on a personal level. Politics has genuinely ruined the lives of a lot of people I know. That's not that surprising and I don't really worry about it because worrying doesn't change anything. Politics is a blood sport and I don't really see the upside to it unless you're willing to hurt a lot of good people, which I don't have any desire to do.

Seeing how politics screws with lots of people close to me has given me a more sober perspective on my influence with regards to how younger people who look up to me or take cues from me behave. I have a sort of luck that allows me to recover from mistakes or poor choices in a very good way where it almost ends up benefiting me no matter what I do, but most people do not have that sort of luck. Because of that, I've been increasingly aware of who is being influenced by what I say and do, and try to do and say things that will at least not negatively influence the people who might stumble across it. Obviously this limits what I say or do quite a bit, but my belief is that long term is will work out better for myself as well as everybody who isn't influenced in a negative manner.

This isn't an altruistic decision to limit my involvement in politics. I'm not being a nice person or a good person. I'm simply trying my best to do an objective appraisal of what I can do and can't do, and at the moment it looks like I can make stuff that I enjoy and find a benefit in that whoever wants to can also enjoy and can't really fix things outside of my personal circle of influence. All that said, I want to reiterate that I'm not distancing myself from any of my friends or acquaintances or condemning people on the left or the right. They are all acting in the way they think is best and makes the most sense, and I don't hold that against any of them or demand they change. If anything, I think more non political people should try to be friends with people who might hold fringe positions, and hear them out and treat them well even though you disagree with them. For me personally, I have become good friends with lots of different people all across the political spectrum as well as people from different cultures and has given me an appreciation and empathy for lots of points of view that I wouldn't have otherwise been exposed to, as well as giving those people some perspective that also helped them in how they understood the world. Most people in politics aren't bad people, they're just desperate or misguided and have been screwed over repeatedly so they're trying to make sense of their world.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Thoughts on how mediums interact with groups

The popular content on a medium is a reflection of the structure of a medium; not a reflection of the entire population group. The popularity of certain mediums are reflections of portions of population groups.

To have brand new mediums emerge and to compare two mediums as a critique of a population group, unless those two mediums interact with the exact same population group (they never do or else they would be the same exact medium) illustrates a clear lack of understanding as to what functions are at play.

For example, reading a physical book has different pros and cons than reading a pdf and require different levels of knowledge and different levels of investment. Even a slightly different format for reading words targets a different (overlapping but different) population group.

In the past, taking pictures was expensive and in order to even have your picture taken, you had to go out of your way and plan for it and make a time investment. Now, pictures are taken cheaply and easily - and so the medium has changed - thus the population group "photography" targets is different than what was known as photography used to target.

It can be further extrapolated that if the people interested in the fruits of the medium also change, as the product of a medium is its own medium. But this sort of recursion is of limited use.

This applies to anything that is interacted with: change the barrier to entry, change the rewards/penalties, and you change both the average behavior and also change the individual who use/interact with the medium. Thus, to compare across mediums for similar qualities is illogical and incorrect.

Friday, January 18, 2019

The Bitcoin Problem

Bitcoin was invented to fix the problems caused by fractional reserves and essentially be similar to gold in that it has a fixed supply and has inherent value. The main problem with this is that Satoshi Nakamoto (the inventor of Bitcoin) did not realize that without changing human nature, creating digital gold would not change the selection pressures of currency which made the dollar move from being backed by gold to the dollar not being backed by gold.

Because the incentive structure of humanity hasn't been changed, cryptocurrency as a whole is following the pattern of money itself: fixed supply (bitcoin) to fractional reserve and derivatives (Ethereum and everything built on top of that.)

We left gold for a reason. We are leaving bitcoin for the same reason: human greed. People don't want a fixed supply currency in analogue form, thus they don't want fixed supply currency in digital form.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Books I Recommend

Trust Me, I'm Lying by Ryan Holiday: https://amzn.to/2SPUoIT
Book about how people manipulate the media to create fake controversy and use outrage to get free publicity or to trick one person in a media org into saying something and then people from other media organizations will blindly copy information without verifying it. Very useful book to understand how most media works, or rather doesn't work. Also, the author (Ryan Holiday) has written quite a bit about stoicism and seemed to have taken it quite seriously for personal use, although it's a bit easy to do that once you've secured a lot of money and a reputation that can be leveraged to make you money in your life if you ever need it. Propaganda by Edward Bernays: 
Very good, very concise book also about the media that goes into how public opinion is shaped and why, and makes an argument that since some people are going to use propaganda that everybody should use it. Kind of a bit of a justification that's not necessarily appropriate since just because others are manipulative doesn't mean you have to be manipulative, but goes over how people are influenced (by specific influencing of mass influencers like celebrities and artists.)

Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media by Edward S. Herman, Noam Chomsky https://amzn.to/2SO4aLv
While Noam Chomsky is a very overrated and meme-worthy "thinker" that is very annoying and also loved by generally very annoying left wing types who think they're extremely smart and also read things like Infinite Jest and post about Narwhals baconing at midnight and listen to podcasts about socialism and communism and call people CHUDS and wear graphic t-shirts, this book is actually quite good. The reason this book is quite good is that it goes nicely with Trust Me, I'm Lying in showing how the media is manipulated. This is more a top down approach and illustrates how the media agenda is set by those who have political and financial power. Very worth a read unlike most of Chomsky's writings. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie https://amzn.to/2SNLwDx
While a bit of a meme and overly simplistic, this book is excellent in that it helps with cognitive empathy and understanding where other people are coming from, how to understand what they want, and how to provide and explain value to other people in a way that benefits you and the person you are talking to. Very good book to read if you want to be more genuinely likable and also communicate better with other people. Where this book is so much better than other "self-help"/"influence" sort of books is that it's not from the perspective of trying to take advantage of or deceive other people or "gain power" over other people. It focuses on how to build mutual and true relationships where each person is respected and treated with respect. It sounds kind of corny but it's a very useful and important skill to have that will make you happier in life!

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius https://amzn.to/2SPOeIG
Very good and fairly short series of essays on different things in life and how to approach them in a logical and reasonable way that fits into a worldview that's coherent and makes sense. A pretty straightforward and common sense way to approach life that I personally find extremely enjoyable to read due to the cut and dry nature of the way it's written. More applicable now in the age of the internet and social media than ever in my opinion, since it deals with how to see yourself and how to present yourself, as well as how to view others and their actions. Discourses and Selected Writings by Epictetus https://amzn.to/2Cl2TVc
In the similar style as Aurelius and dealing with similar things that Aurelius talks about, but in a more drawn out and broader scope. Epictetus was apparently somebody who took a lot of other Stoic philosopher's ideas and rehashed them, but is one of the few individuals from that period with a large body of work that survived. As such, even though he is not groundbreaking or particularly unique, I found his thoughts to be just as enjoyable and applicable to Aurelius' writings.

The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
This book is essentially the narcissist's and sociopath's version of How To Win Friends And Influence People. What that means is that it's not worth reading but worth skimming and looking at the "48 Laws" and taking note of what they are. The reason for this is that you will then be able to have a glimpse into the way manipulative people work and also how Robert Greene has plagiarized a lot of stoic statements and bastardized them to create the 48 Laws. Basically read this for a good look into the minds of tryhard social climbers (that are usually unsuccessful or else a lot of these things would come intuitively and they wouldn't have to ask others for help on how to screw people over.) The Art Of War by Sun Tzu 
Similar to the 48 Laws of Power, this is a good book to skim so when other people reference it you know if they're kind of tryhard. A very simple book that can kind of be useful if you generalize the advice into day to day actions, but very overrated and often read by people who think they're more clever/devious than they really are. A good book but not a very good book.

The Accursed Share: an Essay on General Economy, Vol. 1: Consumption by Georges Bataille https://amzn.to/2M359ow
Book broadly on economic theory with some weird things about incest and taboo sexuality thrown in. Worth reading because of the unique nature it views economics in an almost inverse manner where excess determines behavior and that leads to stable or unstable societies. Very good way to start thinking about how our surroundings help determine our behavior and also the behavior of those around us in a sort of closed feedback loop system. Very good way to break out of the default free market capitalism view (not to say that free market capitalism isn't preferable to other alternatives) regarding the market being determined by people and not the other way around or a blend of the two interacting with each other. Erotism: Death and Sensuality by Georges Bataille https://amzn.to/2CeowXt
While the subject matter is a bit lewd and strange, and the author Bataille was a strange individual that I wouldn't trust around my children, this is another good book that investigates the relationship between transgression and arousal as well as the relationship between state-changes and the profane. It also covers a good element of how things being holy or taboo are that way for a reason and that by going out of our way to transgress either of those fields, that we and those things are permanently changed -- not always for the better. Once again an interesting and surprisingly coherent way to look at the mystical.

The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays by Albert Camus https://amzn.to/2SK01sc
Baby's first absurdism, which is straightforward and simple. Philosophy students dislike it because it's not pretentious or written in a way that is a struggle to read, and doesn't needlessly complicate matters. Very enjoyable to read and if you look at Camus' life, he had a wife and kids and seemed to have put his personal philosophy into practice in a beneficial manner that was functional, unlike other more "respected" people similar to him in what they wrote about. Worth reading and thinking about if you're not too concerned about people with horn rimmed glasses scoffing at you. Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950 by Charles Murray
Very eye-opening book by the author of the famed and needlessly controversial "The Bell Curve" book, which is also worth getting just to prove to yourself how the media is fine with lying about and ruining people's lives by calling them nazis and white supremacists with evidence to the contrary. Human Accomplishment breaks down who invented what and where they invented it. Lots of statistics and numbers and graphs that make it more a reference manual then proper book to read, but still extremely interesting to read and have to reference.

How to Lie with Statistics by Darrell Huff https://amzn.to/2VKP7UX
Very enjoyable read and very entertaining as well. One of the more important and shorter books to read, helps break down how people can make numbers seem to point to things they don't actually point to. Is worth reading for anybody who wants to be more skeptical and reasonable, and is especially useful for people who enjoy reading alternative news since right wingers and left wingers alike are equally dishonest or inaccurate as the main stream media, just in different ways. Highly recommend this book even though it seems more like a booklet than a book. Common Sense: The Origin and Design of Government by Thomas Paine

https://amzn.to/2siCItU Really worthwhile book to read, especially if you're an American. While it outlines a lot of ideals, it also does so in relation to what America should be. It's a bit instructive because it shows how having ideals and goals that are logical and straightforward should in theory work quite well, they don't really matter long term if the ideals and goals aren't modeled properly with human nature. Equal parts refreshing and equal parts saddening since we have undeniably left the noble and seemingly simple design of what America was supposed to be, and we will never return there. In that sense it kind of shows the futility of reason and planning past that which actually control, which ties into the stoic ideal of caring about that which is in our direct control.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

2019 Thoughts on Cryptocurrency And A Few Predictions

I've been aware of cryptocurrency and watching how it tends to go since 2013.

Here are my current thoughts on cryptocurrency:

Ethereum will crash further than Bitcoin will percentage wise.
Bitcoin will maybe go up maybe go down.
Monero will be fairly pegged to bitcoin.
Mothership will go up in value a lot.
All other cryptocurrency is largely irrelevant.

Here is why:

Ethereum being the base of so many things built on top of it is essentially a function that amplifies market sentiment in relation to cryptocurrency as a whole which is essentially a reflection of the market sentiment in relation to Bitcoin. Right now is just the beginning of a few year period of people who do not have a long term interest in cryptocurrency or were "investing" (gambling) money they couldn't afford to lose. Because of ethereum being the backbone of a ton of speculation via people releasing projects via tokens that could only be bought with ethereum, it also had the most surface area of scammers and people who did and will continue to cash out the money people paid in Ethereum from Ethereum to Bitcoin to USD. As such, the people who are buying Ethereum are the type of "long term" (in crypto) investors who are happy to passively buy for the next few years.

Bitcoin is so big and so unpredictable that it's kind of hard to predict, hence it being unpredictable. That said, it would be reasonable to assume that for the next two to four years it will drift downwards overall with weekly or monthly periods that it temporarily jumps up or crashes down.

Monero is really the only big currency (besides dashcoin but I don't know enough about that) that has a functional use beyond speculation: buying drugs and transferring/laundering anonymously. If I had to guess I would say it might drift slightly downward in general just because in a bear market non-bitcoin cryptocurrencies are hit harder than bitcoin in general but should stay fairly closely pegged to bitcoin.

Mothership is the dark-horse and personal favorite of mine due to what it wants to do (be an exchange, be an ethereum for Europe that will lead to similar price multiplying effects that happened to ethereum, work with governments), who is on the team (established people that have experience and skill, people from actually important financial thingies and stuff), and the way it's being built (lack of hype, slow and steady, legally.)

All other cryptocurrency is irrelevant because if you look at the past cryptocurrency bubbles, very few as in one or two of hundreds of "cryptocurrencies" are actually worth anything after the crash ends in a few years and the next bubble phase begins. Crypto's main value is speculation. That's not inherently bad or good, but it does mean that stuff that focuses on "file storage", "business needs", etc are not really viable or even needed (any big corporation does financial stuff in house and fraud is a pro to people making the decisions with how to manage funds, not a negative that they're really trying to avoid.)

I could be completely wrong, and I wouldn't recommend anybody spend their money based on this, and of course this is not legal or financial advice, or an endorsement or condemnation of anything, etc etc, I am not an expert. These are just some of my thoughts and we will see how correct I am in a year. Don't gamble any money in cryptocurrency that you're not 100% ok with losing, it's an extremely speculative activity and there are too many variables that aren't even thinkable or predictable to call it safe in any respect. That's why I like it.