Professor-rat's Blurty
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Below are 20 journal entries, after skipping by the 20 most recent ones recorded in Professor-rat's Blurty:

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    Sunday, August 17th, 2014
    10:55 pm
    Hitler didn't fall from the sky
    Capitalism was, to both Lenin and Marx, an inevitable stage of historical evolution.
    It was not possible to move from a fundamentally feudal system to a socialism of abundance without an intervening period of capital accumulation and centralisation.
    Lenin's understanding of history and economic development convinced him that a transitional stage of state capitalism (he did allow that the period of private capitalism could be omitted) was an historical necessity. Lenin recommended we "learn about state capitalism from the Germans, to assimilate their methods, not to spare any dictatorial methods in order to accelerate the westernisation of barbarous Russia, not to recoil from using barbarous methods of struggle against barbarism...govern with greater firmness than the capitalists did. Otherwise, you will not win. You must remember: your administration must be more stringent and firm than the old administration... This discipline included harsh, stringent measures, going as far as shootings, methods which even the old government did not visualise.
    10:54 pm
    Fascism derives from Marxism
    Maximoff, following in the footsteps of Bakunin, traces the Leninist policy to "political marxism" itself.

    Russian socialism had always been "distinguished by its libertarian and progressive character," writes Maximoff in opening his book. "Political marxism," though, "Is an anachronism, a vestige of the dying past and is altogether reactionary in its essence.

    The Communist Manifesto of Marx and Engels is a reactionary manifesto and is in striking contradiction to science, to progress in general, and humanism in particular. The demands of dictatorship, of absolute centralisation, of political and economic life in the hands of the state, of 'forming industrial armies, especially for agriculture,' of a regimented agriculture in accordance with a single plan, of raising the state to the position of an Absolute and the resulting stultification of the individual, its rights and interest--all that is nothing but the programme of reaction which is incompatible with human progress, with freedom, equality and humanism. The realisation of these demands carries with it state slavery.
    10:17 pm
    Supporter of classic fascist-type, Jock Palfreeman, drinks the 'anti-imperialist' the name of 'anti-fascism'!?

    "...Robert Parry writes about how The New York Times Discovers Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis at War (August 14, 2014); Niles Williamson, a scribe for The Leadership of the World Socialist Movement, writes that Kiev deploys fascist militias against Donetsk (August 12, 2014)..."

    Andy, you're a fucking dickhead mate.
    Saturday, August 16th, 2014
    6:09 pm
    Professional skeptics suck-ass
    [I]f there are any lessons to be learned from history, it is that we should be skeptical of all points of view, including those of the skeptics. No one is infallible, and no one can claim a monopoly on truth or virtue. It would be contradictory for skepticism to seek to translate itself into a new faith. One must view with caution the promises of any new secular priest who might emerge promising a brave new world-- if only his path to clarity and truth is followed. Perhaps the best we can hope for is to temper the intemperate and to tame the perverse temptation that lurks within.

    --Paul Kurtz (The Transcendental Temptation)
    6:06 pm
    Simon Leys replies:

    Mr. MacKinnon’s criticism bears on four questions. Let us discuss them in succession:

    —Concerning Balazs: Etienne Balazs was a great scholar and an admirable man. That Mr. MacKinnon in reading my modest little essays should be induced to compare me with him fills me with a mixture of confusion and pride. (I doubt however if Mr. MacKinnon did understand Balazs’s writings any better than mine.)

    —Concerning city walls: In underlining the fact that walls can symbolize oppression and that it was therefore right to pull them down, Mr. MacKinnon raises a very interesting point. Come to think of it—is it not a shame that, in a revolutionary capital such as Peking, quite a number of other (far worse) symbols of oppression are still allowed to stand: the Imperial Palace, the Summer Palace, etc.? Actually, in this respect, too many countries are still badly in need of a big clean-up: the London Tower, the Louvre, the Escorial, the Vatican, the pyramids of Egypt, etc., etc., are all awaiting the revolutionary intervention of Mr. MacKinnon’s pickaxe. If he intends to devote his energy to such a worthy cause, he has, without doubt, a most busy career ahead of him.

    —Mao’s quotation concerning Wang Shih-wei: three points

    “Mao deplored the execution of Wang Shih-wei.” Nixon too deplored his “plumbers” initiatives at Watergate. Great leaders are so often done a disservice by clumsy underlings!

    “Mao opposes random killings.” This in fact was the only point on which Mao significantly departed from Stalin’s doctrine. Mao always agreed with the principle of Stalinist purges; only, to his more sophisticated taste, their methods appeared rather crude, messy, and wasteful. Mao eventually developed his own theory of the efficient way of disposing of opponents—which is expressed quite clearly in the fifth volume of his Selected Works recently published in Peking: executions should not be too few (otherwise people do not realize that you really mean business); they should not be too many (not to create waste and chaos). Actually before the launching of some mass-movements, quotas were issued by the Maoist authorities, indicating how many executions would be required in the cities, how many in the countryside, etc. This ensured a smooth, rational, orderly development of the purges. Some people see in this method a great improvement by comparison with Stalin’s ways. I suppose it might be so—at least from Big Brother’s point of view.

    “Mao said that Wang Shih-wei was a secret agent working for the Kuomintang.” And Stalin said that Trotsky was a secret agent working for the Nazis. Later on it was also said that Liu Shao-ch’i was a secret agent working for the Americans. And that Lin Piao was a secret agent working for the Soviet Union. And now we have just learned that Madame Mao had been working for Chiang Kai-shek. Why not? After all there are always people ready to believe these things—Mr. MacKinnon, for instance.

    —Other foreigners living in China: I do have a wide circle of acquaintances who have been, or are still, working in China in various capacities. I do also keep in close touch with a number of Chinese friends, former citizens of the People’s Republic, who know Chinese realities from the inside, a thousand times better than either Mr. MacKinnon or myself will ever do. If it had not been for the advice and encouragement I received from those persons who kept telling me that I was right on target, I would never have felt confident enough to publish these subjective impressions of China. On one point, however, I agree with Mr. MacKinnon: I too think it most unlikely that a person living in Peking, and being employed by the Chinese government, would ever express publicly his agreement with my views (though I know some who do so in private).
    Friday, August 15th, 2014
    10:08 pm
    Rats in the bilge me hearties
    John Pilger, a respected investigative journalist, writes that “What is certain is that Barack Obama’s rapacious, reckless coup in Ukraine has ignited a civil war and Vladimir Putin is being lured into a trap” and that “Moscow’s inevitable response (to Washington’s putsch) in Russian Crimea (is) to protect its Black Sea fleet”. [13] Once you believe that there has been a coup and not a mass movement, albeit with a strong nationalist and neo-liberal character, then you can believe anything including Russia’s right to annex Crimea.

    Pilger writes in a later article [14] that “the leaders of these obstructive nations are usually violently shoved aside, such as the democrats Muhammad Mossedeq in Iran, Arbenz in Guatemala and Salvador Allende in Chile, or they are murdered like Patrice Lumumba in the Democratic Republic of Congo. All are subjected to a western media campaign of vilification – think Fidel Castro, Hugo Chávez, now Vladimir Putin”. Comparing Putin to Chavez and Castro stretches political credulity.

    But Pilger goes further when he carries on in the same article that “having masterminded the coup in February against the democratically elected government in Kiev, Washington’s planned seizure of Russia’s historic, legitimate warm-water naval base in Crimea failed. The Russians defended themselves, as they have done against every threat and invasion from the west for almost a century”. To believe that Washington had planned to seize Russia’s naval base in Crimea makes us wonder whether Pilger has lost all his senses.

    But it gets even more incredible when he writes further in the same article that “for the Germans, it is a poignant irony that Putin is the only leader to condemn the rise of fascism in 21st-century Europe”. Evidence abounds that Putin works with the far right and fascists in Russia and across Europe. In January, Marine Le Pen of the Front National in France was welcomed in the Duma and met the Speaker of the Duma and Deputy Prime-Minister. [15] Pravda openly acknowledges Russia’s support for the fascists in the European Parliament [16]. Nazis are allowed to march in Moscow alongside Stalinists on the 1st May. [17]

    Such an article by Pilger flies in the face of facts, supports Russian imperialist annexation and paints Putin as an anti-fascist. Such rubbish should be condemned and it is extraordinary that it was posted on the Stop the War Coalition website without comment.

    Unfortunately, Pilger is not the only socialist supporting Russia. Eamonn McCann wrote earlier in the year “if we have to pick a side over Crimea, let it be Russia” because “in this instance Russia has more right on its side than the West”. [18] Socialist Action views the events in Ukraine as a struggle between Russia and imperialism [Imperialist offensive causes tragedy in Ukraine, Paul Roberts, 22 July 2014, ]], obviously implying that Russia is not imperialist. John Pilger’s nationalist references to “Germans” are echoed in the Communist Party’s view that “German monopoly capital is clearly preparing for economic expansion into Ukraine”. [19] Socialist Appeal and Workers Power are also covering up Putin’s imperialist land grab by cheering on the struggle against Kiev-based fascism.

    What is worrying is that Russian nationalists and reactionaries are working with some on the left in Russia and elsewhere to cover-up what is the Russian imperialist grab of parts of Ukraine. The latest event was an “international conference” entitled “The World Crisis and the Confrontation in Ukraine” held in Yalta, Crimea (formerly part of Ukraine, now annexed by Russia) on July 6-7. The aim of the conference included the creation “an international network of support for the movement for the creation of Novorossiya”. [20]. The conference was organised by Boris Kargalistky, a Russian socialist, and with some Russian far right or fascist currents. Many of these are supporters of Strelkov, the "Minister of Defence of the Donetsk People’s Republic" [21], a White Guard monarchist who fought in Chechnya and Serbia. Besides the Institute of Globalisation Studies and Social Movements, of which Kagarlitsky is the Director, the conference was organized by the far right New Rus’ Coordination and Support Centre, and the Osnovanye Fund. This fund was established recently to support the separatist movement by such Russian personalities as Alexandr Prokhanov and Vladislav Shurygin (editors of the far right journal, Zavtra) or Nikolai Starikov (leader of the far right Party of Great Fatherland). It was attended from Britain by Richard Brenner of Workers Power and Alan Freeman of Socialist Action, both supporters of the Ukraine Anti-Fascist Solidarity campaign.

    Socialists should have stayed well clear of a conference organised in a territory just annexed by Russia and in which deeply reactionary forces participate. It is also an error to invite Boris Kargalitsky to address the NATO counter-summit in Cardiff at the end of the August.
    Thursday, August 14th, 2014
    7:33 pm
    Loved Lauren
    Hollywood’s Golden Age Fades Away
    By Michael Auslin
    The news of Lauren Bacall’s passing yesterday may have surprised many who assumed that all of the stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age had long ago left us. Bacall, who was 89 when she died, was perhaps the last of the true mega-stars from that era, noted not only for her excellent body of work, but for her indelible connection to the giants of the time, foremost among them her husband, Humphrey Bogart. To consider Bacall’s closeness, not only to Bogie, but to Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Henry Fonda, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson, and others, is to conjure up images of a bygone era, once so familiar, yet fading away in our collective memory. That Bacall was the Brooklyn-born daughter of Jewish immigrants who always identified as a Jew, only makes her life path more fascinating. Andrew’s post on “the last empress of Byzantium” nicely catches her inimitable character as reflected in her best roles.

    With her death, and that of Mickey Rooney earlier this year, the only major stars left from Hollywood’s Golden Age are the wonderful Olivia de Havilland, who made her first movie in 1935 and turned 98 last month, and the fiery Maureen O’Hara, who celebrates her 94th birthday next week. Some may also put Kirk Douglas in that group, but his career did not take off until the 1950s. For real film aficionados, German-born Luise Rainer is 104, but while she became the first back-to-back Oscar winner, she never achieved the stardom of Bacall, et al. Bacall truly was one of the last of a breed who helped define American culture at the height of the country’s power.
    Tuesday, August 12th, 2014
    6:38 pm
    Nazbols scream for Buffalo Meat
    Turned up to Eleven
    By Andrew Stuttaford ( at The Corner NRO )
    It’s hard to read this account from Radio Free Europe of a rally held in the Crimean city of Sebastopol (always a Russian redoubt) and not conclude that there is some sort of collective unraveling going on in Russia:

    What’s a biker show without interpretive dance? In what can perhaps be seen as a darker continuation of the generally well-reviewed [ahem] Sochi Olympic opening ceremony in February, Russia’s most famed biker gang provided its own take on the conflict in Ukraine. The show, broadcast live on August 9 from annexed Crimea in front of an estimated 100,000 people and on Russian state TV, used a choreographed mix of nationalist rock, pyrotechnics, Nazi and Illuminati imagery, and interpretive dance to portray Ukraine as a state overrun by fascists.

    The Sevastopol show begins with children playing merrily on a playground until they flee under the sounds of sirens and the flashing of red lights. Enter Aleksandr Zaldostanov, the nationalist leader of Russia’s “Night Wolves” biker gang and a friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who gives his interpretation of the fall of the Soviet Union.

    “Enemies who hated us, killed the Soviet state, and took away its territory and its army,” he says before repeating — in an attempt at poetic cadence — the official Russian version of the current Ukraine conflict.

    “And now, the healing has begun. It is coming from Russian Sevastopol. We are celebrating our sacred victory at a time when fascism, like putrid, poisonous dough, has overfilled its Kyiv trough and begun to spread across Ukraine. Its tanks are now flattening Kramatorsk, its Grad missiles are destroying Luhansk, its APCs are pouring fire on Slovyansk, its helicopters are attacking the suburbs of Donetsk. The new battle against fascism is inevitable. Stalin’s 11th strike is inevitable.” (This is an apparent reference to 10 Soviet military victories in 1944.)

    Darkness falls and the sound of U.S. President Barack Obama’s voice echoes over the crowd: “I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story.”

    His voice is cut off, and then, over the next 25 minutes, this happens:

    Under the towering figure of a symbol taken from the U.S. dollar bill that is commonly used by conspiracy theorists and with the voice of a Hitler speech ringing in the background, dancers in black rise from a white sheet and form a Swastika…..

    And so it goes on (click through to the link to see GIFs from the show, which is also on YouTube in its entirety – not recommended, trust me on that).

    Politics has always had an element of performance about it, of show and of carnival. The further it drifts from the deliberate ordinariness of genuinely democratic celebration, the more bombastic, bizarre and kitsch it generally becomes, whether in Pyongyang, Stalinist Moscow or Nuremberg’s Luitpoldarena. The curious thing about the Sebastopol show was the way that it delivered its political message in a package that appeared to combine a celebration of the latest edition of the big lie with the aesthetics of Spinal Tap, a mix which should have subverted itself. That it appeared not to says nothing good about the psychological climate in Russia today.
    Sunday, August 10th, 2014
    3:30 pm
    Gamma Gamma Hey
    Hacking is simple, says author claiming role in breach of spyware firm
    DIY guide provides instructions for carrying out similar muckraking exploits.

    by Dan Goodin - Aug 10 2014, 4:00am AUSEST
    An anonymous author who claims to be the hacker who penetrated controversial UK-based Gamma Group International and aired 40 gigabytes of its dirty laundry has published a how-to guide for other hacktivists.

    "I'm not writing this to brag about what an 31337 h4x0r I am and what m4d sk1llz it took to 0wn Gamma," wrote the author, who rightly cautions that the unauthorized access of other people's networks is illegal. "I'm writing this to demystify hacking, to show how simple it is, and to hopefully inform and inspire you to go out and hack shit. If you have no experience with programming or hacking, some of the text below might look like a foreign language. Check the resources section at the end to help you get started."

    The do-it-yourself guide explains how hackers can map entryways into a target's network, scan for vulnerable services and exploit any that are found. It also lists some of the most common methods hackers use to keep their IP addresses and other digital fingerprints off their attacks. Among other things, the how-to suggests installing Whonix inside a hidden encrypted volume created by TrueCrypt and carrying out all operations from there. It also counsels against using Tor and instead using hacked servers. Again, this is illegal.

    Ars is unable to confirm the claims that the author had any connection to the Gamma Group hack, which has now turned into the source of multiple news articles. Most notable of the news accounts so far is one reporting the government of Bahrain used the Gamma Group's FinFischer software to spy on citizens who were later tortured. With 40 GB of e-mails and other data in the open, it wouldn't be surprising for many similarly damning articles to follow. Ars doesn't advocate trespasses of networks, but also believes the guide, and its claim to be published by the hacker behind the Gamma Group breach, is a newsworthy event worth reporting. FROM
    Thursday, August 7th, 2014
    12:28 pm
    "Deutschland über Allah"
    Young Turks and "Deutschland über Allah" in the 1910s
    The spirit of universal Ottoman brotherhood soon melted away, revealing a harder, more exclusive ideology. The Young Turks [who seized power in 1908] embraced something called "pan-Turanianism"—the notion that all Turks from the Russian steppes to Anatolia came from a single ancestral land called "Turan." In this view, the entire historical orientation of the Ottoman Empire toward Europe and the Middle East had been misplaced. Instead, the empire should be focused on reuniting the Turanic peoples in Russia and Central Asia. In his book Allah Is Great, Lev [Nussimbaum aka Kurban Said] compared the Turanian obsession to "blood and soil" ideas in Germany. In a kind of Turkish parallel to the German idea of lebensraum, the future was to be found in the East—in an invasion of Russia to reclaim ancestral lands from the thirteenth century and earlier, not only those of the Ottomans but of the other great Turanians, the Mongols and the Huns.* (*Since at least the eighteenth century, Russian ministers and theorists had referred to the Ottoman capital not as Constantinople but as Czargrad, in anticipation of absorbing it into the new world-dominating Super Russian Empire. The counter-theory of the pan-Turanian principle meant that if the Russians wanted to reconquer Constantinople, the Turks would do them one better, reconquering half of Russia.)

    What clinched the Turkish-German axis in the First World War was really the personality of Enver Pasha. A dark fireplug of a man who had served as the Ottoman military attaché in Berlin, Enver had embraced all the pointed helmets and polished boots and talk of Wagnerian Götterdämmerung-cum-Jihad. (Kaiser Wilhelm did his part by spreading the rumor that he had converted to Islam.) When Enver led the Young Turks to power in 1908, as war minister, he was sporting a Kaiser Wilhelm mustache, which should have been a clue as to which way things would go. What ensued may have amounted to the most dramatic "self-colonization" in history: in the name of achieving instant modernization and international power, the Young Turk junta turned the Ottoman Empire into a virtual military colony of the German Reich. "Deutschland über Allah," said some diplomatic wags. But it was a dead serious maneuver, and it happened with lightning speed. Enver turned over the entire Ottoman officer corps to the Germans; more than twenty-five thousand German officers and NCOs assumed positions of direct command. A Prussian officer founded the Turkish Air Force, and two German battleships arrived in the Golden Horn. The German crew brazenly donned fezzes and sang "Deutschland über Alles" beneath the seaside villa of the Russian ambassador.

    The Young Turks had launched the Ottoman Empire off a cliff. It is hardly remembered now what a large role Turkey played in the First World War, except for the storied Gallipoli landing, where the defending Turks slaughtered British, Australian, and New Zealander expeditionary forces. Almost everywhere else, it was the Turkish soldiers who were slaughtered. More than three hundred thousand Turkish soldiers died fighting the Russians in the Caucasus alone, as a result of Enver's plan to begin a great reconquest of the ancient Turkish heartland. The plan was to take Baku so as to launch Turkish armies across the Caspian in oil tankers, landing at Kizel-Su and crossing Turkestan, conquering Bukhara, Samarkand, and eventually, even Mongolia. On the eve of the revolution, the czar's forces poised for a final attack on Constantinople. Had Russia stayed in the war and the Bolsheviks not prevailed, Istanbul might today be called Czargrad and the Middle East might be an imperial Russian federation. The Turkish rout was the fault of poor planning and bluster—Enver sent Turkish troops to fight in the Caucasus in winter with no overcoats and without even boots—but the increasingly fanatical Young Turk junta looked for someone else to blame for the failure of the Turanian dream. Thus, the infamous Armenian massacres of 1915 were set in motion.
    SOURCE: The Orientalist: Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life, by Tom Reiss (Random House, 2005), pp. 106-108
    Monday, August 4th, 2014
    12:59 pm
    SERE here
    There was a cascade of coverage of the President’s August 1 remarks concerning John Brennan and his defense of his embattled CIA chief, as Obama was also widely derided for his seeming defense of those who tortured “some folks” after 9/11. (Obama did not mention that the order to torture came from the Oval Office.)

    “Well, at least he called the crimes out as ‘torture,” some observers noted. Others, including some in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), called for John Brennan’s resignation as CIA director after he admitted the CIA had spied on Congressional investigators who were writing a thousands-of-pages-long report on the CIA Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation program.

    An Executive Summary of that report, in a censored version produced by the CIA itself, is now back in the hands of the SSCI, who may or may not release it soon. The Committee has already decided the full 6000 or so page report itself will not be released for years (if ever), a cover-up of immense proportions.

    Jason Leopold, who has been covering the story for Al Jazeera America and VICE, noted astutely in a tweet the other day, that Obama’s comments at his August 1 press conference included a reference to his only banning “some” of the CIA’s torture techniques. Leopold believed Obama previously had always been more absolute in his prohibition of torture.

    The full quote from the August 1 presser is worth reproducing here. The quote below begins in the middle of Obama’s defense of those who used torture after 9/11, i.e., those who are the subjects of the Senate’s controversial torture report (bold emphasis is added):

    And it’s important for us not to feel too sanctimonious in retrospect about the tough job that those folks had. And a lot of those folks were working hard under enormous pressure and are real patriots.

    But having said all that, we did some things that were wrong. And that’s what that report reflects. And that’s the reason why, after I took office, one of the first things I did was to ban some of the extraordinary interrogation techniques that are the subject of that report.

    Only “some of the extraordinary interrogation techniques”? Not all? Was this merely a slip of the tongue by the President? No one in the press corp seemed to notice, and no one took him up on the issue. To date, no one has in the press has at all (besides Leopold’s tweets), though it is very much worth noting that Jeremy Scahill reported in July 2011 on the CIA’s continuing use of black sites and torture in an important article in The Nation. Others had surmised as much even earlier.

    But there was a much more insidious and institutional salvage of torture by the U.S. government, which, rocked after the Abu Ghraib revelations, tried to hide and maintain its use of detention and interrogation techniques that relied on force, mental cruelty, fear, isolation, stress positions, sleep and sensory deprivation, and the use of drugs. Waterboarding, for all the attention given to that brutal form of torture, was never really a major component of U.S. torture. There were even some in the CIA who would be glad to see it go.

    Using solitary confinement, loud music and 24 hour bright lights, verbal abuse and humiliation, “dislocating the expectations” of prisoners by, for instance, moving them around every day so they never had a sense of solid place or safety or time to rest, or using drugs to disorient them — this is the kind of torture that leaves deep psychological wounds, and which the U.S. wanted to maintain in its interrogation arsenal.

    What Obama Meant by Banning Only “Some” Torture

    Over the past few years, I have shown how first the Bush administration hid their torture program within a 2006 rewrite of the Army Field Manual on interrogation, then how the Obama administration via Executive Order made that same field manual the law of the land, incumbent on both the CIA and the Defense Department.

    I showed that when in January 2009 Obama publicly revoked the Bush torture program, which the government labeled “extraordinary interrogation techniques,” and all the John Yoo/Jay Bybee/Steven Bradbury Justice Department memoranda approving that same torture program, he did not do it in a blanket fashion, but referred the memos themselves to Eric Holder for review. Ultimately, as a Department of Defense spokesperson actually told me, the Holder and the Justice Department never rescinded one of the Bush-era torture memos, in particular the one that approved forms of torture that would be used in a special section, called Appendix M, of the Army Field Manual.

    Obama’s admission that he had only banned “some” of the previous administration’s torture techniques was not the first time the government has made such an admission, however obliquely.

    Last April, I wrote how the Department of Defense’s main directive on interrogations (3115.09), which supposedly had banned SERE-derived torture techniques (like waterboarding, hooding, etc.) used by the government after 9/11, in fact made a note that only some of the SERE techniques were banned. The ones that were not banned resided in — the Army Field Manual on interrogation, the same manual Obama had endorsed in his Jan. 2009 executive order on “lawful interrogations.”

    SERE stands for Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape, and is the name given to DoD’s program to prepare military and CIA and other specific government personnel for capture and imprisonment by a brutal enemy. Its participants take part in a mock-prison camp exercise, and it was the kinds of torture practiced during that exercise that were utilized in full-blown operational mode by CIA and Defense Department interrogators in the so-called War on Terror.

    The SERE-derived model, which is what the “extraordinary interrogation techniques” really were, was superimposed on an earlier torture program based on isolation and sensory deprivation, sleep deprivation, fear and drugs, developed by the CIA and codified in a 1963 interrogation program that is referred to today as KUBARK. Earlier this year, I obtained a version of the previously declassified KUBARK manual with new portions now unredacted.

    But oddly, besides myself, only Obama seems to have noticed that not all the torture techniques were rescinded by him. The press and certainly the Senate and the House of Representatives have ignored entirely the use of torture in the Army Field Manual. While some bloggers and human rights groups have noted the anomaly of having the nation’s primary instructions on interrogation include torture techniques, and some have even called for a repeal of Appendix M or a rewriting of the field manual itself, none of these groups or individuals have made this a primary issue. Nor, when the controversy over the Senate report on the CIA torture program is discussed, is the ongoing presence of torture in the Army Field Manual ever mentioned.

    The failure to take on the entire torture apparatus is one reason accountability for U.S. torture cannot get sufficient traction. The argument remains shackled by what the Establishment deems reasonable dialogue about torture. So one can criticize the embrace of euphemism to describe torture, or argue why waterboarding is torture, or shout loudly why the redacted portion of the SSCI’s Executive Summary of their years-long investigation should be released, but evidently it is not reasonable, that is, establishment-sanctioned via the New York Times or other media or political authority, to bring up torture beyond the terms already established.

    But now Obama has done it. He has said he banned only “some” of the torture techniques that were the target of the SSCI’s report.
    4:34 am
    The end of the ATLANTIC
    James_Blair • a month ago
    None of this matters. Various groups have been trying to destroy the internet ever since its creation. If the ITU fails in its role, it will simply be ignored and something new will rise up to take on the role.

    Europe has tried to carve out its own internet several times and it always fails. They can mandate something, but they can't make people use it. See the history of the ISO and the internet in the 1990s for details.

    Sending party pays was little more than an attempted financial shakedown by the usual suspects in Africa. If it had happened, it would likely have only hurt the african countries involved who would have found themselves off the internet.

    The world is just too interdependent now for anyone to go their own way. If the ITU or the politicians try, the commerical sector will push them back into line.

    "If no compromise is reached, blocs of countries could theoretically go their own way, giving rise to competing or duplicative domain-name systems. If"
    The informal processes that have always made the internet work will solve the problem. The authoratative DNS root servers will still be authoritative. The Saudis and Egyptians will have a choice of either using the real thing or some half-working local joke service
    Saturday, August 2nd, 2014
    12:14 pm
    NEM yourself
    Offline SomethingElse

    Bitcoin vs NXT vs NEM
    « on: March 09, 2014, 01:10:25 PM »
    First, I want to introduce myself. I am a bitcoin and NXT investor, NEM stakeholder and relative newbie. I am writing this after thinking daily about cryptocurrencies for the last month and here are some of my reflections. To be clear about my political leanings and purpose, my thoughts here reflect a position that NEM should be made for the people, should have a high service, and if designed well then it can do this and will be desirable and successful, but would not be in the original stakeholders short term gain. In fact, a system can be designed to somewhat be against the original stakeholders, but in doing so would be very attractive to new people and the long term effects would be to make it successful. As a stakeholder, I would of course like to be able to make a good profit, but as an idealist, I see a real possibility to do something with NEM that can really change the world in a better way, and would rather see that done. The two do not have to be necessarily opposed in the long term, but it seems they are in the short term. This could set NEM aside from the common “pump and dump” coins which concern literally more than 99% of the coins on the market. I have done this by first briefly analysing bitcoin and some of its major flaws that have been addressed by interesting alt coins, then analysing NXT and how it has responded. It is responding well, but not perfectly. Then I’ve tried to find problems with NXT that NEM can address to make itself add value.

    Bitcoin quite simply is revolutionary. It has a completely different way of thinking about financial transactions that can completely upturn the financial world, but hasn’t, because at its core, it is flawed. As a necessary proof of theory and model, it has clearly shown that some kind of electronic decentralized system of value can someday be very successful, but as for fulfilling the exact needs that this market will have, it isn’t doing so well. The system can be redesigned and should be. It is the birth of bitcoin 2.0. The following list of alt coins will demonstrate flaws that have widely been observed in bitcoin and how they are being addressed.

    Name coin – A clone of bitcoin but added a single extra function of having aliases and new protocol for websites. NXT has already done this.
    Peercoin – A clone of bitcoin. Looked to address bitcoins flaws with mining and being so slow. Still a clone of bitcoin but added the functions of being quicker and added an innovative focus on PoS instead of PoW. NXT has addressed these and gone completely PoS and has quick block times, with the potential to be even faster and more robust.
    Worldcoin - Super fast block time of 30 seconds. Still just a clone of bitcoin with an added function. NXT, same as above. It has been addressed.
    Doge coin – Another simple clone of bitcoin, but with good publicity. Basically, it is cool. NXT has not made itself “cool” and to some extent has polarized itself in the alt community between investors that love it and miners (the majority) that hate it.
    Prime coin – Another bitcoin clone but benefits science. NXT has not found a way to “benefit” anything but its investors.
    Quarkcoin – Another clone of bitcoin with 6 forms of encryption, CPU mined for decentralized. Fast block times. Again addressing problems with bitcoins miners, but also adding additional encryption. I am not sure if bitcoin’s encryption needed to be addressed as I hadn’t been aware of major flaws with it. As far as I know too, NXT is using a good form of encryption and all coins including bitcoin are securely encrypted.
    Vert coin – Another bitcoin clone but by this time ASICs had changed bitcoin and alt coins. It was originally designed to be totally decentralized. But the arms race if computing power has left processing in the hands if a few big pools and processing centers. This can cause problems like 51% attack or mining issues addressed by KMG. NXT has been designed against a 90% attack and has been designed in a way that it is easy and very light on resources to run a node.
    Coinmessage/Bitmessage – Two of many bitcoin based programs that allow a user to send encrypted private messages. NXT has incorporated this function.
    Zerocoin – A much more anonymous and harder to track system of payment than bitcoin. NXT is incorporating this into its protocol too.

    ---- backbones ----

    Mastercoin – Another bitcoin clone, but has added the feature of being able to add assets, so that a cryptocurrency will not just represent money, but any kind of financial asset. NXT has developed a system mirroring this and is currently testing it for release.
    Protoshares/Bitshares - Another bitcoin clone that is also trying to build a feature that allows bitcoin to not just be a currency, but a marker for any kind of financial medium. Again, NXT is addressing this.
    Counterparty - similar to Mastercoin and Protoshares (I think) (I think being addressed by NXT)
    Ethereum – is very similar to Mastercoin, Protoshares, and Counterparty in that it really looks to expand what a cryptocurrency can be used for. Except…. It is not basing itself off of bitcoin. It wants to be a completely different code that is much more efficient and much easier to utilize, making it a foundation for a multitude of other protocols to be built on top of it. This is a very good idea and a true Bitcoin 2.0 idea, but is also in a way what NXT is already doing now.

    Furthermore, NXT is working on problems with large blockchains, instant transactions, decentralized exchanges, and trying to implement P2P file sharing, in addition to many other core features. The most exciting thing about NXT in many ways is that it has been designed from the ground up to be able to easily incorporate many extra functions and services of potential bitcoin 2.0 applications. The code is designed to be very adaptable to additional features.

    While many weaknesses have been found in bitcoin, most of the bitcoin alt coins above have found flaws in bitcoins miner system, which suggest it is its biggest flaw. Most of the coins above also set out to solve the bitcoin miner system with small tweaks, not revolutionary redesign which is really needed. Peercoin though set out to change the miner system in a totally new and in many ways better way. This system is called PoS or “proof of stake”. This system is ultimately much better in almost all ways then the traditional mining method of PoW, but still has its flaws. In the form of NXT, its biggest criticism is that its initial base wasn’t wide enough, and as it is currently implemented doesn’t benefit newcomers to the ecosystem.

    One of the problems with crypto currencies is that they basically give the biggest awards to the earliest adopters. These are not just gains of double or triple, but of huge magnitudes. This leads to many currencies being labelled as “ponzi schemes” or “pump and dump” coins. To a large extent with most cryptocurrencies, this is a fair and just labelling. There is an exception, and bitcoin has crossed this borderline. That is when a cryptocurrency goes from just existing as a speculative investment, to providing a real world service. When a cryptocurrency can provide a real world service and provides value to the consumers, its value is then justified and legitimized by its service. But a coin that is not being spent in the real world is just a scam. Bitcoin has a limited crossing over, but just barely, the other alt coins, not so much. For instance NXT’s current real world services are encrypted messaging and an alias system, which both are rarely used. Neither at this time are of particular importance to any normal person, but in the future if NXT becomes more popular, they could of course bring some value.

    But still….. the problem exists in the everyday consumer’s mind, how can it be possible that one person got 500 bitcoins in a day, for running a program on his computer and now those coins are worth $500 a piece. This makes a new investor very wary of investing and screams to the average consumer, “You are paying a lot of money for something that somebody else didn’t pay much for. Now is that fair?” Cryptocurrencies in their original spirit were designed to make things more fair for the average person, not less. Cryptocurrencies hold the promise that no longer are governments and large institutions moving markets against the small consumer, but in reality, up until now cryptocurrencies have failed, and instead have just been an easy way for early adopters to take advantage of the average person.

    NEM has already seen the value in having as many initial investors as possible. 2000 seems a lot more fair than 70. But wouldn’t it be better to say that in the first few months that NEM had 200,000 investors? Wouldn’t that narrative sit far easier in the minds of the consumer in a year or 5 years from now. It is a much better narrative than one guy got 500 coins in a day, or 70 investors got it all at once. Advertising a coin as the most widely dispersed upon initial creation creates a much grander narrative for the end point consumer. When I think about my investment going towards 70 people or 200,000, the 200,000 just sounds a lot more fair and attractive. Even more, it is just more logical and sensible and real world applications of how things have traditionally happened. People are more comfortable with it. I think it is best then to design NEM in a way that encourages 2nd tier investors and even 3rd tier investors to get a really good deal and therefore increases the user base. The user base of bitcoin is estimated at 350,000,000. I would hope that NEM would target its adoption in a way that at least the 3rd tier investors will exceed 200,000,000, basically giving NEM the momentum from that point forward, to go on and far excel all the other cryptocurrencies, especially if it has more services and options than bitcoin.

    How can this be done? I think the simple answer is to make NEM give the most value to the end point consumer, not the initial stake holder. NXT is clearly not trying to address just one problem with bitcoin, it is trying to address them all, but it hasn’t gotten them all and it hasn’t done it perfectly. This still leaves room for NEM to have a good chance at obtaining a sizeable market share.

    My friend, who is a bitcoin miner, gave the accurate example of typical alt coins flaws. He explained that all the coins are like trains in a way. Some are longer and some are shorter in length. Some carry more information and heavier loads and some less. And just like trains can run off of different fuels like coal, diesel, or electricity, so can coins run off of different encryptions and mining systems. But one thing that remains is that trains need tracks to go someplace. They need an endpoint for the user. A coin without real world spending is a ponzi and just as useless as a train with no tracks. No matter how good the coin or how many options, if it isn’t used, it is pointless, just like no matter how good a train, without its tracks, it is useless. The point is that NEM needs to encourage users to adopt and spend. A cryptocurrency being used is a live and growing one and justifies its value with its services provided.

    I have thought of a tentative system that might address bitcoins biggest flaw, which I call PoS³, which looks to increase stake, spend, and service. But why is this needed?

    Bitcoins flaw is that it just really rewards the miners for holding up a network but the average consumer doesn't gain as much as compared to a bank or other traditional financial service that offers interest. Nxt has switched this where the consumer is now their own banker, but it really is only beneficial for the big players that are heavily invested. This encourages Nxt holders to buy and hoard, not spend and grow the network. The average consumer still has no reason to use Nxt. But with a PoS³ system that is weighted correctly, the average consumer can stand to gain "interest" on par with a traditional bank account by investing heavily in this currency, supporting the network, and spending. This system could easily gain higher interest rates and lower fees because no brick and mortar buildings will be built and no personal need be employed. The system will run itself. A person’s financial services will physically be stored on their lightweight computer power at home or pocket. This PoS³ system can all be controlled with equations similar the KMG (Kimoto gravity well) applying to each factor and then combining. I suggest that the KMG equivalent for each of these three factors combined in a total way that is weighted towards the average consumer, or at least a power user, not the original stakeholders. So for instance with NEM, there might be 2000 shareholders. It seems that they should be encouraged to reduce their funds by at least 90% or up to 99%. So for instance if a shareholder was given 1,500,000 shares, then the optimum rating any account could have for the proof of stake portion of PoS³ would be holding 150,000 possibly as little as 15,000 NEM in a node with heavy traffic dealing in shares that are often traded and channelled through multiple layers of accounts in a way that assures the system can't be beat as transactions fees would eat away at the profit. This would be a cap that would work against the rich having an unfair advantage with stake, and even a disadvantage weighted on stake above the cap of 15,000. But I also propose a cap against those that are providing a service. Something like any one node could not be weighted to more than 1% of the network. The balance is to find a benefit for somebody that creates a large and powerful service, but that not so powerful that they can take over or have too much control. Again.... This would encourage lots of smaller initiatives to get involved. The more small but powerful initiatives are involved, the more the network grows. And if a specific service grows above its optimization cap, it still can reallocated resources in another area to make another great service, effectively making the network better. Another possibility of point of service is that if a node gains more than the allocated top point, they will still be rewarded but not to the same extent or as heavily as they were before. This type of system would intentionally encourage a more distributed field of services instead of the one that currently exists in current real world markets where the bigger a financial entity is, the more they can manipulate the market. With a KGM like algorithm that starts to kick in after a nodes reached 0.01% to 0.1% of network service value, many different competing nodes can be encouraged to start thus creating more competition. Again, this creates a network with more end points and more value to the consumer.

    (Please see part 2 in the comments)
    « Last Edit: March 10, 2014, 07:43:09 AM by SomethingElse »
    Offline SomethingElse
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    Re: Bitcoin vs NXT vs NEM
    « Reply #1 on: March 09, 2014, 01:11:43 PM »
    Stake = the amount of coins in a wallet.
    Spend = that wallets spend score, basically a score that tracks how often and to how diverse an accounts spending has been. (think credit score for high use)
    Service = how important is that node to the network.

    Basically, each node could have a wallet and only one wallet attached to it. Two factors depend on the owner of the wallet, spend and stake. This system if designed correctly could also encourage the everyday consumer to be desired to be paid in this currency and spend it. (This would not be unlike the system with credit cards where a person gets “miles” or “points” for using the card, but with Proof of Spend, the wallet’s points will go towards their chances of mining/forging.) The third factor which is service is determined by third parties finding value in connecting to that node. The service aspect encourages people to make "top apps" so that their app becomes a point of high volume and/or connection. This encourages developers to spend time and effort turning this crypto currency's shares into real world services. And by making useful and valuable services to consumers, the consumers will be drawn to the service and a part if the ecosystem.

    Making original stake holders encouraged to disperse the initial wealth addresses the complaint that so many people have with NXT, that how can a currency only have 70 founders (if that). But with NEM there is a public auditing to root out sock puppets and then those original 2000 stake holders have been further incentivized to spread out to 20,000 or even 200,000 stake holders. I prefer 200,000, and even 200,000,000 stake holders if possible. This means the average investor in 5 years from now will see 70 lucky people in a system like NXT, or a few hundred lucky in a system bitcoin, verses a 200,000 or greater small investors in a system like NEM. Which is more attractive to the consumer? And which system is more attractive to 2nd, 3rd, and 4th tier investors? A currency that is spent and used on a daily basis ultimately is the one that brings the most value to the consumer. A share of NXT or NEM has no value in and of itself of than the service it can provide. Crypto currencies, quite simply are in the service industry, and the one that can provide service along the "Google model" or "Facebook model" whereas the bottom investor gets things for free instead of having to pay for them will win. And then and only then as a secondary result will the currency become valuable. For this reason it also seems best to lower NEM’s transaction fees as low as possible. It has been suggested 0.01% and that is low, but I wonder, is that as low as NEM can go, or is it too low? In some ways the average consumer wants low fees, but the "miner/forger" wants higher fees. 0.1% is one penny taxed for every $10. That sounds fair to me and not unreasonable to the average consumer. There has been talks of a bottom cap of 1 NEM. But that really reduces the daily transactions and will limit the price of NEM. For instance if NEM was valuable, why would I buy something for 1 NEM if I had to pay a 1 NEM fee. I'd encourage the exact opposite. That there would be a max fee of say 10 to 100 NEM on very large transactions. This would encourage big spenders to invest big money in the NEM ecosystem because it would be easily moved. But once those large amounts of money found their way in, some might stay in the ecosystem. This is more like the Facebook and Google model. “We offer extremely low transfer fees, you like that, oh wait, now you use the service a lot!” Likewise one might impose a very small minimum transaction. So that if the rate is 0.01%. A Minimum transfer would have to be 0.00001001, which basically is 1000 satashi and the fee if 1, but..... That's not scaled well. What if a person sends 0.00001400 satashi. Well??? What is the fee. Therefore, it seems better to make the smallest transfer 0.00010000 that way the fee can scale to two places. If...... If.... NEM achieved the price point similar to what bitcoin once had with a $1000 per coin price, then that means the smallest transaction would be 10 cents. In today's financial system most if not all goods can have their price rounded to 10 cents. But if NEM were to go higher than the feasibility of daily transfers becomes more difficult. At some point wouldn't it be difficult for NEM to expand, therefore, I would suggest that another algorithm be included in NEM. This would be something like another way of adding a decimal point. Say, after the first trillion transactions a decimal point is added, so that now there are 9 decimal points instead of 8. And then after 10 trillion it goes to 10 decimal points and then after 100 trillion it goes to 11 and so on. It's a fairly wild guess and a person with a lot more math skills and economic theory would do a lot better at figuring out when an extra decimal point would be added, but it could be done and written into the code on day one. This would mean that at a certain amount of transactions would mean a rise in popularity, which would in theory mean a rise in price and therefore a need in the raise in decimal points to cover smaller transactions. This also mirrors how in the stock market a stock that is too valuable can split.

    This best coin is the one that has the quickest, fastest, cheapest, safest, easiest, most efficient network with the most end points. A crypto currency is not at all about the coin or the original code, it is about the network that can be built upon it. To that end, bitcoin is failing. It has been around for 4 years and has seen growth but not the kind of growth that could have easily been possible, the type of growth reflected by Google, Facebook, or Netflix. These are the leaders in their fields, services that had huge growth. Bitcoin is growing, but not at all to the magnitude or degree as these giants that went on to dominate their fields grew, each in their own right taking over previous services that weren't up to the challenge of adapting to meet consumer’s needs. One need only review the bitcoin verses M-Pesa stats to see this, when arguably magnitudes higher development costs and effort has been put into bitcoin but had failed to provide the growth that M-Pesa has. This is why M-Pesa was targeted in design towards understanding the average consumer needs of the average Kenyan. Both bitcoin and M-Pesa have similar goals and a similar appearance at the user level, but much of the rest is totally different. Money can be sent instantly over mobile phones in Kenya in seconds, even small amounts or micro transactions. I've had small amounts of bitcoin in transit for over 12 hours leaving me wondering if it was really lost or not. That is simply unacceptable, and the average consumer would be appalled by this. Visa and MasterCard take only a few seconds, on par with M-Pesa. Bitcoin has had many years to improve the code, but has it? It can't because the fundamentals of the system are flawed. The miners are not rewarded well to quickly process small transactions quickly and effectively. Instead they are brought reward by wasting huge amounts of computational power and electricity solving pointless problems, essentially busy work with no point other than to be busy. If that same amount of electricity and computational power were instead reallocated towards actually maintaining the network efficiently and quickly, a financial network unlike any yet created would exist. If it was encouraged to be decentralized, if consumers were encouraged to invest, if developers knew they would be rewarded for adding value to consumers, it could be very successful. If NEM as a part of the Proof of Service aspect of forging/mining can encourage widespread network stabilization, it can offer something that neither bitcoin nor NXT offer.

    In PoS³ many things can be accomplished towards making a successful currency. The proof of stake encourages people to initially move large amounts of value into NEM. Proof of spend encourages them to use that money as their profile rating is higher. And lastly point of service can be instituted to incentivise developers to build the “train tracks” of NEM. When these three factors are combined and attatched to a node, each respectively controlled by a KGW factored algorithm targeted to benefiting smaller accounts with higher volume, the average consumer and providers will want to be in the ecosystem more than previous systems. They average or high level users and innovators will see the highest interest rates in mining/forging, but not the stakeholders. Mass adaption on the M-Pesa scale can happen, but be truly decentralized and therefore controlled by the free market. M-Pesa controls over half of Kenya’s economy, there is no reason why a well-designed cryptocurrency couldn’t do that on a world scale.

    In summary, NXT has done a really good job of making a new cryptocurrency system from the ground up that addresses and fixes many of the flaws of bitcoin, its main strength being that it addressed the two biggest problems with bitcoin, the miner problem and the fact that it is difficult to add addition services on top of it. This is a huge breakthrough. But NXT still has one major flaw and a few minor flaws. Its major flaw is that it still appears to be somewhat of a ponzi scheme in that the original founders have already had huge exponential growth. In this way NXT is similar to bitcoin. If NEM can address this so that the original distribution can be spread out, it is better. To this extent it has tried to spread out to 2000, which is a great improvement over bitcoin or NXT, but can go much farther to be more reputable in the minds of the consumers. I feel like this is a one-time shot. The crypto currency that addresses this key flaw, stands a lot to gain in the long run gaining reputability in the minds of the public.

    In addition, two novel coins have addressed other flaws in cryptocurrencies, in that Primecoin works towards an altruistic motive. So far NXT hasn’t done that. If NEM can find a way to do that, it would benefit it too. Lastly, Doge is cool, and while that doesn’t seem like it should be a big factor in success, it might be more important than everything else mentioned here. I believe it can become popular by giving the endpoint user the most value. That is how the so many of the biggest companies that are successful today became “cool” and ultimately successful, though a good internet meme, endorsements and advertising would help too, none of which NXT is doing well.

    As a final note, the biggest thing that NEM seems to have going for it, is that it sought to have a fair initial distribution. There are three big flaws with bitcoin, which are distribution, ability to be a backbone of a new financial systerm, and the mining system. NXT has only addressed one well, which is the backbone aspect, and has done well to address the mining issue but can be improved, and has failed the initial distribution test. This essay explains how NEM can do well on all three, but a final suggestion on the distribution test. NEM has around 2000 investors. Each were initially promised at least 1,000,000 shares of NEM. Even if this is increased to 1,500,000 shares, there are still quite a few remaining shares out there. A suggestion could be to create a second round of IPO, on in which 100,000 shares will be sold for 0.75 bitcoins each (or ten times the last IPO investor). This second round of IPO would begin after the original stakeholders have been given wallets and their shares and are free to sell them or use them as they please. New buyers of shares would have to create new account on the official NXT website, one account per user profile, and must write a 100 word introduction of themselves. (Sock puppets will not be scanned for.) This 2nd tier of fundraising could last up to three months or until all the NEM is sold. At the end of the three months, all extra NEM not sold could be destroyed. All funds raised from the 2nd tier of fundraising would be used to support the infrastructure of NEM, marketing and advertising. Again, a great marketing and advertising campaign is something that no cryptocurrency has done well up to this point, and NEM could be the pivot point. An eventually 3rd tier promotion might be for instance that every year for a set amount of years, that a person that joins a facebook page, or twitter page, or forum, has a chance of winning a lottery in NEM, maybe for instance 100 people will be awarded 10,000 NEM. This would be similar to the marketing method done by Publishers Clearing House and their sweepstakes, which ended up being wildly successful.

    Hopefully, this essay has shown the importance of having a great infrastructure and service value to the consumer starting day one. If this was done it would bring the number of official shareholders to 12,000, an impressive number indeed. One the public can have confidence in. Furthermore if good clients and infrastructure were built during the three months, the 2nd tier of investors will have less of a gamble and much more confidence in what they are investing in will be real. They will have seen real test wallets in action. They will probably be able to obtain small donations of NEM from caveat would be of course that NEM would have to have a good code and clients and exchanges set faucets to test the network and clients and decide whether it is good for them or not, as opposed to the initial stakeholders who invested blindly and with faith. Having an initial stakeholder list of 12,000 accounts is quite impressive and is a number that I feel like the public can get behind. The up upon being released for the 2nd tier of investment. This is all possible. The NXT code has been released and many of the NXT supporters who have already done ground work will find value in additionally supporting NEM. NEM stands for “New Market Economy” and this essay has tried in spirit to live up to the name and ensure that NEM is indeed a new type of economy and market, radical and fresh.
    Offline conbos
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    Re: Bitcoin vs NXT vs NEM
    « Reply #2 on: March 10, 2014, 04:21:27 PM »
    Interesting discussion!
    I agree with more of your analysis. Basically, the connection with the real world (so far, none of the coins excepting BTC has achieve this). At Trello board, there are several ideas to work on them. I am part of the Fair Trade initiative which, based on the 'social and egalitarian' character of NEMcoin, aims to use decentralized assets exchange to help farmers to trade their products without paying extensive fees to intermediates. It is still very preliminary but some ideas are being discussed.
    The other point of your analysis is the distribution. As early adopter, I would like to get good profit on the relatively short-term but, I agree with you that this is not healthy for the movement and we should move to intermediate positions that, while keep a decent profit, can help to give value to the money.
    Again, I think it is important to have good exchanges sites but in parallel to a more or less developed ecosystem. If we manage to create a 'flow of money' from trading exchange to trading merchants we will improve coin market capitalization, increase the value of the coin and give long-term sustainability.
    Thinking loudly; one research area in which I also can help is to create simulation models of coin distribution. Then, we can have some sort of predictions about how can be the best way as we stakeholders should contribute to distribute the coin for a larger number of people (As you said 200.000 would be really a huge goal to achieve) in order to increase the coin value
    It would be interesting to attract more people to this discussion. I will post a link in the BTC threat
    Friday, July 11th, 2014
    8:10 am
    A portmanteau word meaning 'rooted'
    Posterior subcapsular cataracts are cloudy at back of the lens adjacent to the capsule (or bag) in which the lens sits. Because light becomes more focused toward the back of the lens, they can cause disproportionate symptoms for their size.
    I have one in my right eye so I now use glasses for watching TV and riding a motorbike. Like about 24 hours a week. CYCLOPS!
    Friday, July 4th, 2014
    11:28 pm
    Mea culpa
    Years ago I posted that stainless steel was no good - burned things - and my comment was in line, I think, with many other people's opinions.

    Well now I'd like to recant.

    We've gone back to using the stainless steel pan.

    There was a simple trick we had to learn - use a low heat. That's all.

    I cook pancakes in it, fried eggs, sausages, omelettes, onions, etc for sauces...

    It has relatively high sides which is good for my purposes - I don't need low sides to flip my pancakes - I turn them with the spatula.

    Non stick is potentially horrible stuff and, I would say, educates you towards becoming a less skilled food preparer (that's what I am, not a 'cook', just a 'food preparer').

    Iron rusts unless you want to become a devotee of the culinary arts or something, which I don't and which I think is the common trend, where most of us are.

    Copper is dangerous, read that on this thread.

    I found enamel made things stick worse than anything else. Don't know what that was about. Haven't got that pan now. Might try again some time but they're rare nowadays.

    Wouldn't use aluminium.

    There's really no choice.
    11:26 pm
    Blue steel
    christopher109 RE: nooodles Apr 13, 2010 03:08 PM
    we have progressively acquired two frypans of french origions; one spun blue steel- thin steel and heats through fast and a much heavier iron one for just about anything. We also have a small cast iron pan from a hardware store which carries a slow heat beautifully for onions and poaching eggs. Never had a non stick - the handles always seem heavier than the pan which is dangerous. Steel pans become non stick with seasoning and use.

    When new, season iron and steel pans with a handful, or more for bigger pans, of coconut threads. heat gently and move around the pan for half an hour untill the threads are black. Heat opens the pores of the steel and the oil goes in. Do every few months. clean with a detergent NEVER IN DISWASHER and some kind of pot scraper -brass or stainless balls of stuff that looks like it comes off a lathe. The objective is to create a smooth patina through regular thorough cleaning and wiping with cooking oil. The extra cost of a steel pan is worth every cent. the french brands you see are unchanged over decades - must be something in that.

    Also steel and iron responds well to accidental overheating - just put it somewhere safe and let it cool! overheat a non-stick and it will be buggered. We often put pans back on the gas ring for a minute after washing to evaporate off water as rust can be a problem. some drops of cooking oil and wipe when hot with a paper towel. I also have a cast iron wok bought from a hardware store in singapore 30 plus years ago - god what a machine.
    Have been told and follw religiously - wait till pan is hot before putting in butter or oil. Last great advantage of steel and iron pans you can use any cooking tools in them, and did you know that the reason you use a brass mesh thing on a handle (go to chinese supermarket / hardware store) for lifting food out of oils in a wok, is that oil will not stick to brass.
    10:39 pm
    Stop or I'll shoot again
    In a certain (fairly high) percentage of shootings, people stop their aggressive actions after being hit with one round regardless of caliber or shot placement.
    These people are likely NOT physically incapacitated by the bullet. They just don’t want to be shot anymore and give up! Call it a psychological stop if you will. Any bullet or caliber combination will likely yield similar results in those cases.
    And fortunately for us, there are a lot of these “psychological stops” occurring. The problem we have is when we don’t get a psychological stop. If our attacker fights through the pain and continues to victimize us, we might want a round that causes the most damage possible.
    In essence, we are relying on a “physical stop” rather than a “psychological” one. In order to physically force someone to stop their violent actions we need to either hit him in the Central Nervous System (brain or upper spine) or cause enough bleeding that he becomes unconscious. The more powerful rounds look to be better at doing this.
    - See more at:
    Tuesday, July 1st, 2014
    1:00 am
    A polite thief
    this kinda sums up the Mange mentality

    "...There are however, certain properties we can ascribe to many, at least within Western Society. One of these is the tendency to maximize profit. Others are take the form of social mores. People like to be treated politely, and generally patronize businesses that treat them that way..."
    12:47 am
    Here are stated elements of the general thinking of Mr. Huben regarding science and knowledge.

    “science is about honesty and validity: if they want truth, they must go to mathematics.”
    “IMHO, science is better than philosophy because it is VALID: it works repeatably in the real world.”
    “science MODELS reality, and that the models give approximations of the measurements we take.”
    “Science is about modeling the world around us as accurately as possible.”
    “You don't "believe" in models. You accept or reject them based on whether they are accurate enough to beat out other models.”
    “If some things are not doubted in science, it is because evidence justifying doubt would be quickly communicated.”
    “The basic ideas of science are not axiomatic: they are empirically observed.”
    “Observing results is not science: interpreting them is.”
    “But even if your contention is correct, that doesn't mean science isn't better than philosophy as a way of knowing.”
    “But philosophical ideas of truth are IRRELEVANT to science.”
    ‘We don’t need the idea of “truth” at all for science.”
    ‘EVERY scientific model is known to be inaccurate”
    “Sometimes newer models are shown to be RELATIVELY more accurate, and they are preferred.”
    “Pretty much all models are KNOWN to be false by measurement or other methods: the question is how to use that knowledge to find better models that explain the conflicting data.”
    “Very simply, I declare (via Occam’s Razor) that I don’t need “truth” or “a priori” any more than I need “soul” or “god”.”
    “Those are hardly presuppositions: they are models. And it is clear that they are models because there are alternative models such as the brain in a vat, Pascal’s demon, or the butterfly’s dream. It is also clear that they are NOT NECESSARY to science because we don’t need to know if physical reality exists to model the goings on we observe in either physical reality or whatever else may be.”
    “If there is a class of propositions with “no possibility of evidence being able to prove or disprove”, we cannot know if they are true or false. Not only can we doubt them, but we can safely disregard them because the only way they could be relevant is if they provided some evidence.’
    “Knowing something can simply mean you are applying a model to something, however accurately or inaccurately. No need for a concept of truth.
    Monday, June 30th, 2014
    6:07 pm
    Iced Berg
    Charles Sanders Peirce took strong exception to those who associated him with Bergson.
    In response to a letter comparing his work with that of Bergson he wrote, “a man who seeks to further science can hardly commit a greater sin than to use the terms of his science without anxious care to use them with strict accuracy; it is not very gratifying to my feelings to be classed along with a Bergson who seems to be doing his utmost to muddle all distinctions.”
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