...or really, the fatal flaw for any cryptocurrency (as opposed to crypto payment systems)?
I've said elsewhere that I'm not fully up to speed on Bitcoin, so I'm not writing with any authority or expertise here, but it seems to me that even if we assume a) flawless protection against counterfeiting and b) genuine anonymity, there is still this fundamental problem: Because Bitcoin (or Litecoin, or any other digital currency) does not represent anything "real" - that is, any commodity or product or "thing" that people value - the scarcity that is imposed by the creator of any digital currency becomes meaningless.
Why do I think this is so? I don't think it is true of gold or silver, for example (even if they had no industrial or decorative value, I still believe they would be used successfully as mediums of exchange, if only because of convention and - more importantly - because of their genuine scarcity.) So why are Bitcoin, Litecoin, etc. different? If we assume that their scarcity is genuine - that they cannot be counterfeited any more successfully than say, gold or silver can, then why could they not also become successful media of exchange?
The answer seems pretty obvious: Because anyone else can ALSO establish a competing digital currency (and in fact, ARE doing so.) If none of these currencies are based on anything "real" (and "real" could in principle include things like page views or other "non-tangible" goods) then by creating new digital currencies, they are, in effect, diluting the value of Bitcoin, Litecoin and any other competing digital currencies. They may not be "counterfeiting" in the strict sense of the word, but the effect is the same.
I am posing this as a question, not an assertion. Again, I am no expert on cryptocurrencies and I'm sure there are many many people who know much more about this topic than I do. So I am asking them (especially those who believe Bitcoin will be "the" currency of the future): Is what I've said above correct? And if not, why not?
I do believe that some form of crypto exchange would be monumental in the fight for liberty. However I am doubtful that the current model of cryptocurrency (specifically, those not backed by anything "real") can work in the long run, for the reason I give above. I am eager to be proven wrong.
(And no, cryptocurrencies are NOT "fiat money." Look up the definition of "fiat" if you don't understand why.)
My dad's latest:
We have recently witnessed one of the more troubling corruptions that have turned “holidays” into “hostility days.” In my youth, November 11th was celebrated as “Armistice Day,” to celebrate the ending of World War I – a war that innocent minds believed would “end all wars.” End all wars? What a treasonous thought! “War is the health of the state,” Randolph Bourne reminded us, and to be against war – i.e., to favorpeace – marks one as an enemy of the state! It’s enough to get the war-monger, Bill Clinton and other statists, upset with the notion of people “hating their government.”
At the school one of my grandchildren attends, an Army officer came – on November 11th – to speak on the importance and virtues of the military. Both my daughter and grandchild were troubled by this pro-war propagandizing, particularly in a school that is supposed to help children learn to live a civilized life. But the statist agenda did not end there. Some ten to twelve days later, the students put on a Thanksgiving play, which included an unabridged singing of “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Just how the school bozos managed to segue the national anthem into the Pilgrim’s first Thanksgiving – and to do so with a straight face – remains a mystery to me. I know that the details of this first celebration are a mix of fact and myth, but poetic license does have some limits. Perhaps school officials have unthinkingly bought into the statist proposition that any public celebration must have, at its core, the rejoicing over the war system. If this be the case, I would urge these pedagogues to do some elemental research. Should they do so, they will discover that the original Thanksgiving was held in 1621, an event that preceded the creation of the United States of America by 168 years, and “The Star Spangled Banner” by 191 years.
Read the rest here.
For the record, the school was not one that my children attend, but one that my sister's son does. And it's a charter Montessori school - she's been very happy with it in all other respects.
Nicely done, from Woman, Uncensored:
There was a time, not so long ago in my life, when I was nearly as helpless as a baby. It was a dark time in my life, when it should have been a radiant one. I was pregnant, and joyously happy about it, but my body was not. I was sick, and not in a "oh I don't feel so hot" kind of way. It was a "if I didn't have big things to live for, I'd want to die" kind of sick. Some of you may have experienced this too. I could literally not even hold down a sip of water or a nibble of food. Eating made me throw up. Not eating made me throw up. I would throw up stomach bile. Anyway, the point is that I was VERY weak. At 4 months pregnant, I weighed less than I did when I was 16 (and everyone called me stick girl back then). My clothes were falling off of me, instead of becoming tight. Every few days, I would be able to hold down maybe one meal's worth of food. In case you are wondering, it is called Hyperemesis Gravidarum, and it typically does not respond to medical or natural treatments. We tried anything that wouldn't be harmful to the baby, and nothing worked. Despite the physical misery, the emotional scars I suffered at the hands of a loved one were far more profound.
I grew so weak that I could rarely leave the bed. I needed support just walking the 10 feet to the bathroom. I needed a shower stool and help getting clean. Just raising my arms to wash my hair was an immense strain. I relied heavily on my husband.
My husband was loving during the day, but things would change at night. He would leave me in the bed, tell me it was time to sleep, shut off the lights, and walk out. I would say "But honey, I'm not ready to sleep yet" but he would ignore me. It was confusing. Sometimes, I'd be having a day where I felt I may be able to eat or drink something, and I would call out to him, asking for something. Again, he would ignore me. Sometimes he would poke his head in, but it was only to tell me that I needed to go to sleep and I was "fine". I had times where I grew very depressed. On top of being sick and miserable, I missed my husband's loving arms. Sometimes I just needed to be held and comforted. Still, he would ignore me. I began to wonder why my needs were valid during the day, but not at night. At times, he would leave the room far too cold or warm. Sometimes I desperately needed to use the bathroom. Sometimes the pain all over my body became unbearable. Sometimes I was just very scared and lonely. Alas, no matter what I felt or needed, my husband ignored me.
Read the rest here.
My favorite, #6 (of course):
Read Steven Pressfield’s Do the Work. The biggest challenge you will deal with in running a business is your own resistance. Period, end of story. Before you study anything about marketing, social media, money, or time management, read this book. You’ll be treated to gems like this:
Our enemy is not lack of preparation; it’s not the difficulty of the project, or the state of the marketplace, or the emptiness of our bank account. The enemy is resistance. The enemy is our chattering brain, which, if we give it so much as a nanosecond, will start producing excuses, alibis, transparent self-justifications, and a million reasons why he can’t/shouldn’t/won’t do what we know we need to do.
A professional distances herself from her instrument. The pro stands at one remove from her instrument — meaning her person, her body, her voice, her talent; the physical, mental, emotional, and psychological being she uses in her work. She does not identify with this instrument. It is simply what God gave her, what she has to work with. She assesses it coolly, impersonally, objectively.
Does Madonna walk around the house in cone bras and come-f*k-me bustiers? She’s too busy planning D-Day. Madonna does not identify with “Madonna.” Madonna employs “Madonna.”
I love Michael the "Save Africa" child actor:
And I disagree (surprise!): It's not the "stereotypes" that harm dignity, although that may be true too. What does more harm is the patronizing attitude that the best way to help others includes keeping them dependent on you, or on anyone. People in Africa are poor not because they are less capable than people in the west, but because they live (for the most part) under kleptocratic, economically illiberal regimes. If you want to "Save Africa", save it from the governments that keep it impoverished.
...and I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Says John Squires at FearNet:
"Since last year, Refe Tuma and his wife have turned November into Dinovember in their home, dedicating the entire month to convincing their children that their plastic dinosaur toys come to life while they're asleep. Every night in Dinovember, after their kids go to sleep, the couple holds elaborate photoshoots with their dinosaur toys, depicting them having all kinds of fun and getting into all sorts of trouble. Each morning they show the photos to their children, leading them to believe that their dinosaur pals are more than mere toys.
"Why do we do this? Because in the age of iPads and Netflix, we don’t want our kids to lose their sense of wonder and imagination," says Tuma. "In a time when the answers to all the world’s questions are a web-search away, we want our kids to experience a little mystery. All it takes is some time and energy, creativity, and a few plastic dinosaurs."
My personal favorite is the Accidental Ice Age:
I've written an open letter to Russell Brand in response to his calls for revolution. It appears today on EconomicPolicyJournal.com:
Dear Mr. Brand,
You can read the rest here.
Good news! I got the scripts for the next three episodes of Urban Yogini off to the artists last week and they've been churning away all weekend. The next installment could be out before the end of the year! Stay tuned...
I received in my Inbox this morning, an e-mail from Zipporah Films, announcing their "Holiday Season Special" wherein you can create your own boxed set of Frederick Wiseman films for a discount.
"There are 37 films to choose from!" The e-mail announces gleefully:
"Choose any 3 DVDs, get 10% off!
Choose any 4 DVDs, get 15% off!
Choose any 5 DVDs, get 20% off!"
And because that by itself just may not be festive enough:
"EACH order comes shipped in a holiday box with festive paper!"
If you're wondering "why the subtle sarcasm?" Then you probably don't know who Frederick Wiseman is. He is, simply, one of the most brilliant documentary filmmakers ever. And I say that after only having seen two of his films: "High School", which provides a very realistic portrait of the underlying culture in a public school - really, it could be pretty much any public school - a picture of what children's spirits look like when crammed into an institution. Says the Zipporah website:
"The film documents how the school system exists not only to pass on ‘facts’ but also transmits social values from one generation to another. HIGH SCHOOL presents a series of formal and informal encounters between teachers, students, parents, and administrators through which the ideology and values of the school emerge."
The film is very well done, not at all overdone, and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the education and spiritual development of children.
The second film, I have to warn you, will leave you shaken and in utter despair. I don't think I can ever watch it again, but I do think it is an important film for people to see. Why? Because I don't think people should have illusions about what their society is and does, about how people are treated, or have been treated in the very recent past. I think it is far too easy for people in developed countries to look around them and believe that the culture they live in is "civilized" when in fact it is far from that. Wiseman's film "Titticut Follies" gives a harrowing glimpse into what life is like for the residents of a state hospital for the criminally insane, in the 1960s. Robert Coles of The New Republic said of the film:
"After a showing of TITICUT FOLLIES the mind does not dwell on the hospital’s ancient and even laughable physical plant, or its pitiable social atmosphere. What sticks, what really hurts is the sight of human life made cheap and betrayed. We see men needlessly stripped bare, insulted, herded about callously, mocked, taunted. We see them ignored or locked interminably in cells. We hear the craziness in the air, the sudden outbursts, the quieter but stronger undertow of irrational noise that any doctor who has worked under such circumstances can only take for so long. But much more significantly, we see the ‘professionals’, the doctors and workers who hold the fort in the Bridgewaters of this nation, and they are all over…TITICUT FOLLIES is a brilliant work of art…"
Richard Schickel, of Life, said:
"TITICUT FOLLIES is a documentary film that tells you more than you could possibly want to know — but no more than you should know — about life behind the walls of one of those institutions where we file and forget the criminal insane… A society’s treatment of the least of its citizens — and surely these are the least of ours — is perhaps the best measure of its civilization. The repulsive reality revealed in TITICUT FOLLIES forces us to contemplate our capacity for callousness."
So in a way, maybe these films are absolutely appropriate for celebrating the birth of a man who asked people to treat others as they would be treated and to care for those who cannot care for themselves. Merry Christmas to you too Frederick Wiseman.
Yesterday, my son's school had a Halloween party and the Dread Pirate Mommy went and volunteered. My job was to help kids at the last stop on their obstacle course: After they had accomplished various tasks, picked an apple out of a tub of water with a spoon and balanced it on the spoon over to my table, I helped them stick it on to one of these. It's an "apple peeler/corer" and it is one of the coolest things ever invented. You stick the apple on, turn the handle and the little peeling stirrup peels the apple while you're pushing it forward into the coring circle and slicer, and you end up with a slinky of apple flesh that has been peeled and cored and is ready to stick in a pie or something. The coolest thing though was that the kids LOVED this. My son sat and watched, fascinated as about ten apples went through, and a lot of kids came back with second and third apples just so they could do it again. We may end up getting one.
I think adults can sometimes be pretty stupid about what interests kids. They often tend to think that kids need lots of noise, activity, bouncing around and being entertained. They actually don't. If you leave them alone, they'll find stuff to do, and this notion that they have "short attention spans" is absolute BS. I've clocked my own son working on his drawings for twelve solid hours at a time. Kids have tons of attention for things that interest them. I think when adults say that young children have short attention spans, what they really mean is that those children don't have a lot of time for the things the adults want them to be doing. Well too bad. Find something they are interested in. It's not that hard. Go get them them an apple peeler/corer.