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121  Bitcoin / Press / 2013-03-11 Planet Infowars: Bitcoin WILL DESTROY Humanity & Insert A Trojan RFID on: March 15, 2013, 12:30:48 AM

Bitcoin WILL DESTROY Humanity & Insert A Trojan RFID Tyrannical Exploit Into Society !

by Courtney

Dear Humanity,

Do NOT Fall victim to the latest women in the “red dress” known only to the financial/Technological industry as “Bitcoin”.

Sure from the offset everything looks inticing… on paper & to the eyes… but she is a wolf in sheep’s’ clothing…a modern day’s fools digital gold coin…searching to exploit the system…not fix it!

Speaking as someone who has been a computer programmer/designer for over the past 10 years, the glaring security flaws & lack of accountability that will be committed under this new rootkit of evil has & like always will be paved with good intentions. Max Keiser is completely on board with this technological alternative…however bare in mind he also lives in London, under complete and utterly the highest surveillance control known to man. I know first hand, as I have been to London myself and seen all the implementations of “Big Brother”& “Big Sis”. There’s literally 1000′s of video cameras in a 10 mile radius, posters in subway cars and underground metro systems giving hotlines to call if you witness a “crime” trash cans as “They” fear that civilians will try to repeat history and execute bombs in them..So just keep this in mind…as you’re making up your own know with “free will” and all !

122  Other / Off-topic / Artificial Intelligence on: March 14, 2013, 01:29:27 PM
Our intelligence comes from learning. Learning comes from motivation. Motivation comes from desire. Desire comes from instinct of survival and self-preservation. This instinct comes from evolution. 
Machines do not have all of the latter. That's why the concept of "Artificial Intelligence" is questionable because machines do not have any intrinsic desire to learn anything. They never experienced evolutionary pressure and never had to go through natural selection. It's the instinct of self-preservation that would have to be programmed into them. Artificially. Fine, artificial self-preservation then. But I guess if it works at all, it would essentially have to be a chaos-theoretical system, and the consequences of such an experiment would be unpredictable.
123  Economy / Speculation / Will the price stagnate or drop because of this issue? on: March 07, 2013, 04:50:05 PM
Will the price stagnate or drop once a critical mass of (new) investors understands the current problems about blocksize limit and scalability?

Satoshidice transactions won't even make a drop in the ocean if this thing gets adopted by the world.

True words! And we already got problems.
124  Economy / Speculation / So yet another business or organization accepting Bitcoin? on: March 05, 2013, 01:33:27 AM
125  Other / Politics & Society / CONSENT of the Governed: The Freeman Movement Defined on: March 03, 2013, 05:30:57 PM
"Consent Of The Governed: The Freeman Movement Defined" is nearly 3 hours long, and covers a wide range of topics that effect and hinder our human freedom when dealing with civil SERVANTS who seek to claim authority over us, so be prepared to set aside some educational viewing time ... however, I promise you, it will be time well spent.

Contains lots of the popular conspiracy theories of course. This FMOTL movement sometimes goes over top, and I guess they're not always right with their interpretation of the twists in laws and statutes, but I believe there is some truth at the core of their premise. After all, the social contract is a mere artifical construct. I don't remember to have signed any.  Huh
126  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / RSA Conference 2013: Experts Say It's Time to Prepare for a 'Post-Crypto' World on: February 27, 2013, 10:46:04 PM

SAN FRANCISCO--In the current climate of continuous attacks and intrusions by APT crews, government-sponsored groups and others organizations, cryptography is becoming less and less important and defenders need to start thinking about new ways to protect data on systems that they assume are compromised, one of the fathers of public-key cryptography said Tuesday. Adi Shamir, who helped design the original RSA algorithm, said that security experts should be preparing for a "post-cryptography" world.

"I definitely believe that cryptography is becoming less important. In effect, even the most secure computer systems in the most isolated locations have been penetrated over the last couple of years by a series of APTs and other advanced attacks," Shamir, of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, said during the Cryptographers' Panel session at the RSA Conference here today.

"We should rethink how we protect ourselves. Traditionally we have thought about two lines of defense. The first was to prevent the insertion of the APT with antivirus and other defenses. The second was to detect the activity of the APT once it's there. But recent history has shown us that the APT can survive both of these defenses and operate for several years."

Shamir, who shared the panel with Ron Rivest of MIT, Dan Boneh of Stanford University, Whitfield Diffie of ICANN and Ari Juels of RSA Labs, said that the continued assaults on corporate and government networks by sophisticated attackers in recent years has become the most important development in the security world. The time, he said, has come for security researchers and others involved in defending networks to look for methods other than cryptography that are capable of securing their sensitive data.

"It's very hard to use cryptography effectively if you assume an APT is watching everything on a system," Shamir said. "We need to think about security in a post-cryptography world."

One way to help shore up defenses would be to improve--or replace--the existing certificate authority infrastructure, the panelists said. The recent spate of attacks on CAs such as Comodo, DigiNotar and others has shown the inherent weaknesses in that system and there needs to be some serious work done on what can be done to fix it, they said.

"We need a PKI where people can specify who they want to trust, and we don't have that," said Rivest, another of the co-authors of the RSA algorithm. "We really need a PKI that not only is flexible in the sense that the relying party specifies what they trust but also in the sense of being able to tolerate failures, or perhaps government-mandated failures. We still have a very fragile and pollyanna-ish approach to PKI. We need to have a more robust outlook on that."

Shamir pointed to the incident recently in which TurkTrust, a Turkish CA, was found to have issued subordinate certificates for Google domains to two separate parties, one of which was a Turkish government contractor. He said he wouldn't be surprised to see other such incidents crop up.

"I think you will see more and more events like this, where a CA under pressure from a government will behave in strange ways," he said. "It brings into question whether the basis of security, the PKI infrastructure, is under severe strain."

127  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Tweet #hashtag to buy -- American Express Launches Purchase by Tweeting on: February 13, 2013, 02:09:06 PM

Tweet to Buy? American Express Launches Purchase by Tweeting

Twitter and American Express have expanded their Amex Sync partnership to include a purchase-by-hashtag feature. The new service will allow users to buy products promoted on Twitter by tweeting the appropriate hashtag.

A user can make purchases by synchronizing an eligible American Express credit card with his or her Twitter account at When the user sees a product or offer they like, they can tweet out the corresponding hashtag and @AmexSync will respond with a confirmation hashtag. The user simply needs to retweet the confirmation hashtag within 15 minutes to confirm and complete the order.

American Express kicked off the service Monday by promoting a #BuyAmexGiftCard25 hashtag that offers a $25 American Express gift card for $15. The company says that all products purchased with Amex Sync on Twitter will be shipped via free 2-day shipping.
Amex Sync and Twitter will offer American Express Gift Cards, as well as “specially-priced” products from Amazon, Sony, Urban Zen and Xbox 360. American Express has said “the full list of product #hashtags will be released and highlighted as ‘favorites’ on the @AmericanExpress Twitter page” beginning Feb. 13 at noon ET.

ABC News asked Bradley Minor of American Express how security is handled when one makes purchases on an online social network.
“Safety and security is core to our brand and to our new social commerce initiatives,” Minor answered. “No Cardmember account information is shared with Twitter. The process of syncing a Card is conducted on secure American Express servers.”
Minor did say the service requires that the user have a public Twitter account. Both the promotional hashtag requesting the order and the confirmation hashtag need to be tweeted publicly.

The Amex Sync program was launched last March, starting with promotional discount or coupon offers across social network platforms. After the user chooses and shares a promotion online, the Card Sync technology is used to apply an automatic credit to the cardholder’s American Express account when they swipe their card at the store, doing away with the need to print out vouchers or coupons.

So far, American Express has partnered with Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare for Amex Sync, but the new purchase-by-hashtag service with Twitter is the company’s first try at actual social network purchasing.

“We wanted to bring [purchasing] to Twitter first,” Minor said. “This is the most dramatic manifestation of what our tech can do because it’s all happening in 140 characters or less and showcased in a hashtag. That said, it would be possible to transfer the underlying capability to other platforms.”

128  Economy / Economics / Money did *not* evolve from barter on: January 27, 2013, 08:40:09 PM
There's zero evidence for that, says anthropologist and (social) anarchist David Graeber in his book Debt: The First 5000 Years, and also explaining it in this interview:

A thread dedicated to this topic is long overdue.  Smiley

Money is an invention by the state.  Shocked
129  Other / Politics & Society / If society was an organism... on: December 12, 2012, 11:01:21 PM
...and resources harvesting and processing would be nutrition and metabolism, currency the blood circulating, communication the nervous system, then... wouldn't government be the brain?  Shocked
130  Other / Politics & Society / How Libertarianism was created by big business lobbyists on: November 19, 2012, 10:51:09 AM



BROOKLYN, NY: Last Friday, November 9, saw the big “Milton Friedman Centennial” celebration at the University of Chicago’s Becker Friedman Institute for Research in Economics. It was a big day for fans of one of the Founding Fathers of neoliberal/libertarian free-market ideology, and those fans are legion on both sides of the narrow Establishment divide —as Obama’s economy czar Larry Summers wrote in 2006, “Any honest Democrat will admit that we are all Friedmanites now.”

One episode in Milton Friedman’s career not celebrated (or even acknowledged) at last week’s centennial took place in 1946, the same year Friedman began peddling his pro-business “free market economics” ideology.

According to Congressional hearings on illegal lobbying activities '46 was the year that Milton Friedman and his U Chicago cohort George Stigler arranged an under-the-table deal with a Washington lobbying executive to pump out covert propaganda for the national real estate lobby in exchange for a hefty payout, the terms of which were never meant to be released to the public.

The arrangement between Friedman and Stigler with the Washington real estate lobbyist was finally revealed during he Buchanan Committee hearings on illegal lobbying activities in 1950. But then it was almost entirely forgotten, including apparently by those celebrating the “Milton Friedman Centennial” last week in Chicago.

I only came across the revelations about Friedman’s sordid beginnings in the footnotes of an old book on the history of lobbying by former Newsweek book editor Karl Schriftgiesser, published in 1951, shortly after the Buchanan Committee hearings ended. The actual details of Milton Friedman’s PR deal are sordid and familiar, with tentacles reaching into our ideologically rotted-out era.

It starts just after the end of World War Two, when America’s industrial and financial giants, fattened up from war profits, established a new lobbying front group called the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) that focused on promoting a new pro-business ideology—which it called “libertarianism”— to supplement other business lobbying groups which focused on specific policies and legislation.

The FEE is generally regarded as “the first libertarian think-tank” as Reason’s Brian Doherty calls it in his book “Radicals For Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern Libertarian Movement” (2007). As the Buchanan Committee discovered, the Foundation for Economic Education was the best-funded conservative lobbying outfit ever known up to that time, sponsored by a Who’s Who of US industry in 1946.

A partial list of FEE’s original donors in its first four years includes: The Big Three auto makers GM, Chrysler and Ford; top oil majors including Gulf Oil, Standard Oil, and Sun Oil; major steel producers US Steel, National Steel, Republic Steel; major retailers including Montgomery Ward, Marshall Field and Sears; chemicals majors Monsanto and DuPont; and other Fortune 500 corporations including General Electric, Merrill Lynch, Eli Lilly, BF Goodrich, ConEd, and more.

The FEE was set up by a longtime US Chamber of Commerce executive named Leonard Read, together with Donaldson Brown, a director in the National Association of Manufacturers lobby group and board member at DuPont and General Motors.

That is how libertarianism started: As an arm of big business lobbying.

Before bringing back Milton Friedman into the picture, this needs to be repeated again: “Libertarianism” was a project of the corporate lobby world, launched as a big business “ideology” in 1946 by The US Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers. The FEE’s board included the future founder of the John Birch Society, Robert Welch; the most powerful figure in the Mormon church at that time, J Reuben Clark, a frothing racist and anti-Semite after whom BYU named its law school; and United Fruit director Herb Cornuelle.

The purpose of the FEE — and libertarianism, as it was originally created — was to supplement big business lobbying with a pseudo-intellectual, pseudo-economics rationale to back up its policy and legislative attacks on labor and government regulations.

This background is important in the Milton Friedman story because Friedman is a founder of libertarianism, and because the corrupt lobbying deal he was busted playing a part in was arranged through the Foundation for Economic Education.

False, whitewashed history is as much a part of the Milton Friedman mythology as it is the libertarian movement’s own airbrushed history about its origins; the 1950 Buchanan Committee hearings expose both as creations of big business lobby groups whose purpose is to deceive and defraud the public and legislators in order to advance the cause of corporate America.

The story starts like this: In 1946, Herbert Nelson was the chief lobbyist and executive vice president for the National Association of Real Estate Boards, and one of the highest paid lobbyists in the nation. Mr. Nelson’s real estate constituency was unhappy with rent control laws that Truman kept in effect after the war ended. Nelson and his real estate lobby led what investigators discovered was the most formidable and best-funded opposition to President Truman in the post-war years, amassing some $5,000,000 for their lobby efforts—that’s $5mln in 1946 dollars, or roughly $60 million in 2012 dollars.

So Herbert Nelson contracted out the PR services of the Foundation for Economic Education to concoct propaganda designed to shore up the National Real Estate lobby’s legislative drive — and the propagandists who took on the job were Milton Friedman and his U Chicago cohort, George Stigler.

To understand the sort of person Herbert Nelson was, here is a letter he wrote in 1949 that Congressional investigators discovered and recorded:

"I do not believe in democracy. I think it stinks. I don’t think anybody except direct taxpayers should be allowed to vote. I don’t believe women should be allowed to vote at all. Ever since they started, our public affairs have been in a worse mess than ever."

It’s an old libertarian mantra, libertarianism versus democracy, libertarianism versus women’s suffrage; a position most recently repeated by billionaire libertarian Peter Thiel —Ron Paul’s main campaign funder.

So in 1946, this same Herbert Nelson turned to the Foundation for Economic Education to manufacture some propaganda to help the National Association of Real Estate Boards fight rent control laws. Nelson knew that the founder of the first libertarian think-tank agreed with him on many key points. Such as their contempt and disdain for the American public.

Leonard Read, the legendary (among libertarians) founder/head of the FEE, argued that the public should not be allowed to know which corporations donated to his libertarian front-group because, he argued, the public could not be trusted to make “sound judgments” with disclosed information:

"The public reporting would present a single fact—the amount of a contributor’s donation—to casual readers, persons having only a cursory interest in the matter at issue, persons who would not and perhaps could not possess all the facts.

These folks of the so-called public thus receive only oversimplifications or half-truths from which only erroneous conclusions are almost certain to be drawn. If there is a public interest in the rightness or wrongness of corporate or personal donations to charitable, religious or education institutions, and I am not at all ready to concede that there is, then that interest should be guarded by some such agency as the Bureau of Internal Revenue, an agency that is in a position to obtain all the facts, not by Mr. John Public who lacks relevant information for the forming of sound judgments...Public reporting of a half-truth is indeed a significant provocation."

So in May 1946, Herbert Nelson of the Real Estate lobby, looking for backup in his drive to abolish federal rent control laws, contacted libertarian founder Leonard Read of the FEE with an order for a PR pamphlet “with some such title as ‘The Case against Federal Real Estate Control’,” according to Schriftgiesser’s book The Lobbyists.

What happened next, I’ll quote from Schriftgiesser:

"They were now busily co-operating on the new project which the foundation had engaged Milton Friedman and George J. Stigler to write. It was to be called Roofs and Ceilings and it was to be an outright attack on rent controls.
When Nelson received a copy of the manuscript he wrote Read to say, “The a dandy. It is just what I wanted."

The National Association of Real Estate Boards was so pleased with Milton Friedman’s made-to-order propaganda that they ordered up 500,000 pamphlets from the FEE, and distributed them throughout the real estate lobby’s vast local network of real estate brokers and agents.

In libertarianism’s own airbrushed history about itself, the Foundation for Economic Education was a brave, quixotic bastion of libertarian “true believers” doomed to defeat at the all-powerful hands of the liberal Keynsian Leviathan. Here is how Brian Doherty describes the FEE and its chief lobbyist Leonard Read:

"[Read] would never explicitly scrape for funds... He never directly asked anyone to give anything, he proudly insisted, and while FEE would sell literature to all comers, it was also free to anyone who asked. His attitude toward money was Zen, sometimes hilariously so. When asked how FEE was doing financially, his favorite reply was, “Just perfectly.”... Read wanted no endowments and frowned on any donation meant to be held in reserve for some future need."

And here is what the committee’s own findings reported—findings lost in history:

"It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Foundation for Economic Education exerts, or at least expects to exert, a considerable influence on national legislative policy....It is equally difficult to imagine that the nation’s largest corporations would subsidize the entire venture if they did not anticipate that it would pay solid, long-range legislative dividends."

Or in the words of Rep. Carl Albert (D-OK): "Every bit of this literature is along propaganda lines."

The manufactured history about libertarian’s origins, or its purpose, parallels the manufactured myths about one of big business’s key propaganda tools, Milton Friedman. As the author of The Lobbyists, not knowing who Milton Friedman was at the time, wrote of Friedman’s collaborative effort with Stigler:

“Certainly [the FEE’s] booklet, Roofs or Ceilings, was definitely propaganda and sought to influence legislation....This booklet was printed in bulk by the foundation and half a million copies were sold at cost to the National Association of Real Estate Boards, which had them widely distributed throughout the country by its far-flung network of local member boards.”

Which brings me back to last Friday’s “Milton Friedman Centennial” celebration at the University of Chicago’s Becker Friedman Institute, featuring a distinguished panel of economists from Stanford, Princeton and of course U Chicago, among them two Nobel Prize winners — James Heckman and Robert Lucas —all gathered together to “explore both aspects of Friedman's legacy: the impact of his policy insights and his enduring scholarship”...

Like everything involving modern economics and libertarianism, it was a kind of giant meta-sham, shams celebrating a sham. Even the Nobel Prizes in economics awarded to people like Milton Friedman, George Stigler, or Friedman’s contemporary fans Heckman and Lucas, are fake Nobel Prizes — in fact, there is no such thing as a Nobel Prize in economics; its real name is the “Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel” and it was first launched in 1969 by the Swedish Central Bank and has since been denounced by Alfred Nobel’s heirs.

And yet — in the words of Larry Summers, "Any honest Democrat will admit we are all Friedmanites now." Of course, there are no honest Democrats. And there are no honest economists. And these are the people who are framing our politics, the people who have told Greece and Spain they have no choice, and the people who today are making sure that the number one item on Obama’s and Congress’s agenda is cutting Social Security and cutting Medicare and cutting "entitlements" — and the only thing that divides the elites in charge of this mess is “how much of these moochers’ lifelines can we cut?”
131  Other / Politics & Society / Obama about Ayn Rand on: October 27, 2012, 01:05:38 PM

Have you ever read Ayn Rand?


What do you think Paul Ryan's obsession with her work would mean if he were vice president?

Well, you'd have to ask Paul Ryan what that means to him. Ayn Rand is one of those things that a lot of us, when we were 17 or 18 and feeling misunderstood, we'd pick up. Then, as we get older, we realize that a world in which we're only thinking about ourselves and not thinking about anybody else, in which we're considering the entire project of developing ourselves as more important than our relationships to other people and making sure that everybody else has opportunity – that that's a pretty narrow vision. It's not one that, I think, describes what's best in America. Unfortunately, it does seem as if sometimes that vision of a "you're on your own" society has consumed a big chunk of the Republican Party.

Of course, that's not the Republican tradition. I made this point in the first debate. You look at Abraham Lincoln: He very much believed in self-sufficiency and self-reliance. He embodied it – that you work hard and you make it, that your efforts should take you as far as your dreams can take you. But he also understood that there's some things we do better together. That we make investments in our infrastructure and railroads and canals and land-grant colleges and the National Academy of Sciences, because that provides us all with an opportunity to fulfill our potential, and we'll all be better off as a consequence. He also had a sense of deep, profound empathy, a sense of the intrinsic worth of every individual, which led him to his opposition to slavery and ultimately to signing the Emancipation Proclamation. That view of life – as one in which we're all connected, as opposed to all isolated and looking out only for ourselves – that's a view that has made America great and allowed us to stitch together a sense of national identity out of all these different immigrant groups who have come here in waves throughout our history.

132  Other / CPU/GPU Bitcoin mining hardware / EU cripples future graphics cards on: October 16, 2012, 03:25:51 PM

EU cripples future graphics cards

NordicHardware has seen exclusive information about a new energy law that will apply within the EU. The law requires that both discrete and integrated graphics cards live up to certain energy standards. AMD is worried that this will affect next generation graphics cards and have them barred from sales in the EU.

There are standardizations that make sure pre-built computers, but also discrete components, achieve a certain level of energy efficiency. Exactly how much depends on a row of criteria. These standards also include simple things, such as that after a certain amount of time the computer will enter sleep mode. The idea behind this is to have as energy efficient computers as possible to reduce the overall consumption of energy. The specification for the so called Eco design Lot 3 with the EC can be found here, where there are hundreds of pages to read for those with lots of time to spare.


There are currently seven specifications for graphics cards - G1, G2, G3, G4, G5, G6 and G7. Graphics cards of the G7 classification have a bandwidth of 128 GB/s (GigaByte per Second) and more, without an upper limit today. The category depends on the performance - in this case measured in memory bandwidth. These GPU categories are also paired with a certain level of energy efficiency. If a graphics card doesn't live up to the standard set by the EC it can be removed from all markets within the EU. The rules will now be constricted, which threatens next generation graphics cards.

The commission wants to stop dedicated graphics cards of group G7 from going above 320 GB/s - that is in theory a memory bus at 384-bit connected to memory operating at 6667 MHz or 512-bit with 5001 MHz. This is definitely within reach for the next generation graphics cards. Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition currently has a bandwidth of 288 GB/s with a 384-bit memory bus and 6000 MHz memory. For notebooks the limit will be only 225 GB/s.

Besides that the energy efficiency requirements will be tighter - in this case the energy consumption of the card in relation to its memory bandwidth. Performance delivered in games or general calculations are irrelevant. according to Lot 3. Exactly what the "performance" and energy consumption quote looks like we don't know at the time of writing, but it will also affect cards in the entry level segment and not just performance and enthusiast cards. The quote is strict enough to worry AMD.

Future generations are in danger

According to data NordicHardware has seen from a high level employee at AMD, current graphics cards are unable to meet with these requirements. This includes "GPUs like Cape Verde and Tahiti", that is used in the HD 7700 and HD 7900 series, and can't meet with the new guidelines, the same goes for the older "Caicos" that is used in the HD 6500/6600 and HD 7500/7600 series. Also "Oland" is mentioned, which is a future performance circuit from AMD, that according to rumors will be used in the future HD 8800 series. What worries AMD the most is how this will affect future graphics cards since the changes in Lot 3 will go into effect soon. The changes will of course affect Nvidia as much as it will AMD.

The commission guidelines could be too strict for next generation graphics cards

Earlier today there were talk about the new restrictions going into effect in early 2013, but now it looks like it will be 2014. This will put nearly unrealistic demands on both AMD and Nvidia. Besides the fact the standardization is not very logical since memory bandwidth does not translate into performance that easily we see it as a great obstacle for future graphics cards, but the revision of "Lot 3" is done and the wheels are set in motion.

According to a report published in August this year the current roadmaps [from AMD and Nvidia] does not support the new requirements up until 30 months into the future. The changes in Lot 3 will therefore be introduced in steps. The first will be in 2013 or 2014 as mentioned above, and thereafter new restrictions will apply in 2015. OEM companies like Dell and HP are well aware of this and worried about how this will affect their operations. The changes should also affect retail graphics cards and home builders.

Graphics card energy consumption has been rising steadily over the last couple of years. Last generation the limit for the PCI Express standard was broken when graphics cards sporting two GPUs consumed well over 300 watt, both from AMD and Nvidia. Both us and our well informed readers think that the way the EC is applying its restrictions is wrong, especially how it has decided to estimate performance. AMD is planning on making an official statement and hopefully the EC will listen. We have not been able to reach Nvidia for a comment on this issue, but hopefully they share AMD's concern.

We definitely feel that restrictions that lead to more efficient hardware is a good thing, but it needs to be done properly with the affected companies being involved in the discussion. We will of course follow up on this and return with more information when possible.
133  Other / Off-topic / Is it real? Physicists propose method to determine if universe is a simulation on: October 14, 2012, 10:29:41 PM

Is it real? Physicists propose method to determine if universe is a simulation

(—A common theme of science fiction movies and books is the idea that we're all living in a simulated universe—that nothing is actually real. This is no trivial pursuit: some of the greatest minds in history, from Plato, to Descartes, have pondered the possibility. Though, none were able to offer proof that such an idea is even possible. Now, a team of physicists working at the University of Bonn have come up with a possible means for providing us with the evidence we are looking for; namely, a measurable way to show that our universe is indeed simulated. They have written a paper describing their idea and have uploaded it to the preprint server arXiv.

The team's idea is based on work being done by other scientists who are actively engaged in trying to create simulations of our universe, at least as we understand it. Thus far, such work has shown that to create a simulation of reality, there has to be a three dimensional framework to represent real world objects and processes. With computerized simulations, it's necessary to create a lattice to account for the distances between virtual objects and to simulate the progression of time. The German team suggests such a lattice could be created based on quantum chromodynamics—theories that describe the nuclear forces that bind subatomic particles.

To find evidence that we exist in a simulated world would mean discovering the existence of an underlying lattice construct by finding its end points or edges. In a simulated universe a lattice would, by its nature, impose a limit on the amount of energy that could be represented by energy particles. This means that if our universe is indeed simulated, there ought to be a means of finding that limit. In the observable universe there is a way to measure the energy of quantum particles and to calculate their cutoff point as energy is dispersed due to interactions with microwaves and it could be calculated using current technology. Calculating the cutoff, the researchers suggest, could give credence to the idea that the universe is actually a simulation. Of course, any conclusions resulting from such work would be limited by the possibility that everything we think we understand about quantum chromodynamics, or simulations for that matter, could be flawed.

More information: Constraints on the Universe as a Numerical Simulation, arXiv:1210.1847 [hep-ph]

Observable consequences of the hypothesis that the observed universe is a numerical simulation performed on a cubic space-time lattice or grid are explored. The simulation scenario is first motivated by extrapolating current trends in computational resource requirements for lattice QCD into the future. Using the historical development of lattice gauge theory technology as a guide, we assume that our universe is an early numerical simulation with unimproved Wilson fermion discretization and investigate potentially-observable consequences. Among the observables that are considered are the muon g-2 and the current differences between determinations of alpha, but the most stringent bound on the inverse lattice spacing of the universe, b^(-1) >~ 10^(11) GeV, is derived from the high-energy cut off of the cosmic ray spectrum. The numerical simulation scenario could reveal itself in the distributions of the highest energy cosmic rays exhibiting a degree of rotational symmetry breaking that reflects the structure of the underlying lattice.
134  Other / Politics & Society / Against Self-Ownership on: October 04, 2012, 09:38:15 AM
Interesting essay.  Smiley

Against Self-Ownership

I. Introduction

I first read Rothbard (For a New Liberty and The Ethics of Liberty) sometime in 2008. I was quickly persuaded by the gist of the arguments offered. At the core was the idea of Self-Ownership (SO), which I found very persuasive and from which I gained considerable intellectual confidence. I knew I could deal with whatever issues of public policy (e.g. drug prohibition) by invoking SO. Of course people could deny SO but such a position appeared to me to be quite implausible.

I have since abandoned those views. I actually stopped believing in SO over a year ago but it has taken me quite some time to articulate why. What follows is my attempt at doing so.

I have three main arguments against SO. The first one is a claim that the concept itself is incoherent. Secondly, libertarian (by that I mean Rothbardian) conclusions do not follow from SO itself, at least two further controversial claims have to be shown. Finally, the main argument in favour of SO is unpersuasive.

The essay is not arranged so as to have the three arguments following each other. I apologise for that. This is because various different discussions make their way into more than one arguments. In the conclusion I draw all the different threads together.

I suggest reading this essay along with a previous essay of mine “The Problem with Property Rights”. Together they form the basis for my rejection of Lockean Natural Rights libertarianism.

II. Referential aspect

A conceptual difficulty with SO is the self referential aspect of it. If I say that I own a slave then the the owner and the object of ownership is different. This is the case for every ownership claim.

However, with SO it seems that there is a self referential aspect. This makes SO at worst incoherent and at best unlike the other ownership claims (and if it is different then why should it not be treated differently).

This can be overcome by appealing to a dualist conception of the self. This would amount to saying that one has a soul which is the owner of the body (and the two are separate).

Now this is a controversial philosophical claim. I do not intend to argue against it here but advocates of SO should be aware of what they are implicitly claiming.

If contrary to what I claim the self referential aspect does not make the concept of SO incoherent then those issues of personal identity can lead to results different than libertarians expect.

As Ed Feser (2005) argued, if Cartesian dualism is true (and it is not incoherent for the self to own itself) then the body is a form of external property. This means that provisios relating to its use such as (on one interpretation) Nozick’s Lockean provisio and Eric Mack’s Self Ownership provisio would also apply to it. This means that there will be constraints on how one can use one’s body. This is a conclusion inconsistent with the traditional implications of SO.

In his article Feser goes through various conceptions of personal identity and considers their implications for SO. He concludes that none of them yield the standard Rothbardian view.

To conclude, there are two possibilities. (1) (If one rejects a dualist conception of the self) SO is incoherent (2) (Assuming the self referential aspect of SO does not make it incoherent) not all conceptions of the self will yield libertarian conclusions; indeed it might be that no conception of the self yields those conclusions. Either way, asserting SO is not enough a libertarian would also have to defend a particular conception of the self.

III. If I do not own myself others own me (partly).

The strong version of that claim is “If I do not own myself I am a slave”. This is plainly false. The alternatives are not (1) I own myself entirely and (2) someone else owns me entirely. There are many others in between.

The weaker version is “If I do not own myself others partly own me”. This argument is quite a common one. It can be attacked on many levels.

A. Granting the claim

For now let us grant that the claim is true. Suppose that we accept SO but say that it is only one of many moral values. It can be outweighed by other values (such as need). The response of the libertarian is then that the needy person (partly) owns me.

This, however, relies on a suppressed premise: (1) that all rights are property rights, (2) that property rights do not clash.

Even if we grant that (2) is true (1) has not been argued.

Perhaps I am putting the cart before the horse. Maybe the argument is that rights should not clash and that property rights are the only type of rights that do not clash.

But again even if rights should not clash it is plainly false that only property rights cannot clash with other rights. Dworkin, for example, defines equality and liberty so that the two values do not clash.

The above argument has of course not established that there are other political values. However it has shown that the “others partly own me” claim fails to establish that SO is the only value (which is what is required to get libertarian conclusions).

B. The fuzziness of ownership

Above, I granted for the sake of argument the claim that property rights do not clash. I suspect that this claim is what draws people to Rothbard’s position. It is certainly what drew me to it. And then I studied tort law, in particular the law of nuisance.

There are two houses next to each other. How much fumes/noise can one emit without infringing on the rights of the other?

The answer does not come from reflecting on the concept of ownership. You cannot get a valid conclusion by axiomatic-deductive reasoning. Rather it depends on various other factors. Indeed this was (implicitly) acknowledged by Rothbard in his seminal essay on this topic:

The reason why not is that these boundary crossings do not interfere with anyone’s exclusive possession, use or enjoyment of their property. They are invisible, cannot be detected by man’s senses, and do no harm. They are therefore not really invasions of property, for we must refine our concept of invasion to mean not just boundary crossing, but boundary crossings that in some way interfere with the owner’s use or enjoyment of this property. What counts is whether the senses of the property owner are interfered with. (emphasis added) (p. 151)

There is nothing in the concept of ownership which favours one conception of invasion rather than the other. Rothbard goes for the latter because it is a sensible one on utilitarian grounds (otherwise the world would grind to a halt since merely speaking would be wrongful). This is what is doing the real work.
So property rights are not in themselves wholly determinate and, in the area of indeterminacy, they can clash. We resolve the issue by refining them but this is not done by reflecting on the concept of ownership.

C. Denying the claim

In the above the claim that if I am not a self owner others own me (partly) was assumed to be true.

This claim will now be challenged.

One possible alternative is that no one owns anyone (including themselves). That, however, is ambiguous. This alternative can be interpreted in two ways: (1) no one has any rights in others and himself and (2) whatever moral claims there are are not expressed in terms of ownership.

Under (1) everyone has a Holfeldian liberty to do whatever one wants. This means that killing someone else is not wrongful.

That view is obviously unattractive.

Now consider (2). Suppose it could be shown that moral statement could be translated in the language of ownership. That claim is true in a trivial way. “I have a right that X” can be translated to “I own the right that X”. But that’s so trivial so as to be useless. What I mean is something like “I have a right to exclude the whole world from X” = “I own X”.

Suppose this could be done for every moral statement. A non libertarian statement such as that one has the right to an adequate level of health care would then be translated as that person partially owning others.

However all this change has done is given a rhetorical advantage to the libertarian position. No actual argument against such a right has been given. Of course the conclusion that someone owns others seems odd. But that is not because the underlying moral claim is wrong but because we do not normally translate those in the language of owning others.

IV. How many sticks?

The standard treatment of ownership is that of a bundle of sticks. Each stick represents a right/power/liability. Tony Honoré in his seminal essay on the concept of ownership (1961) lists 11 sticks:

(1·) the right to possess

(2·) the right to use

(3·) the right to manage

(4·) the right to the income of the thing

(5·) the right to the capital

(6·) the right to security

(7·) the right of transmissibility

(8·) the right of absence of term

(9·) the duty to prevent harm

(10·) liability to execution and

(11·) the incident of residuarity

However, according to Honoré for one to be an owner one must have most (but not all) of the sticks. The upshot of this is the following. Suppose I have 10 of those 11 sticks in myself and you have 1. I am still a self owner and the fact you have 1 stick does not make you a part owner of my body.

Now the libertarian no doubt wants to claim that I should have all the sticks. However, if Honoré is right, it is insufficient for the libertarian to say “if I do not have all the sticks then others partly own me” – that claim is false, others do not then partly own you.

In light of this libertarians would no doubt wish to argue that Honoré is wrong. I don’t think such an argument would be successful. Consider two houses, A and B. B has a right of way over A. We still say that whoever owns A is the owner of A. Furthermore we would not say that the owner of B (partly) owns A.

Be that as it may. Libertarians wishing to argue for standard libertarian conclusions based on SO would then have to engage in debates concerning personal identity and they will also have to take down the orthodox understanding of the concept of ownership.

V. Conclusion

There were a lot of various threads of arguments going on. Here I will try to put them together:

Firstly, there are conceptual difficulties with SO. The self referential aspect makes it incoherent. The only way out is to appeal to an implausible Cartesian conception of the self.

Secondly, those difficulties notwithstanding it is unclear that SO actually yields the standard Rothbardian conclusions. The conclusions will vary depending on which conception of the self one takes. Furthermore, under the orthodox understanding of ownership being an owner does not mean one has all the sticks in the bundle. So merely invoking SO does not mean, as Rothbard would want it to, that one has all the sticks.

If one wanted to get the standard Rothbardian conclusions from SO one would then have to argue for a certain (I don’t know which one) conception of the self and against the orthodox understanding of ownership. This is by no means impossible but a lot more work is needed then merely invoking SO.

This brings us to the third conclusion. The best argument given for SO, that if I do not own myself others partly own me, fails. Even if the claim were true libertarian conclusions do not follow unless one can show that ownership is the sole value. This in turn relies on the claim that property rights do not clash. That claim is false.

In any event the claim that if I do not own myself others partly do does not get libertarians anywhere. At best it simply gives a rhetorical advantage. Furthermore it follows from the orthodox conception of ownership that the fact other people might have rights in me does not make them part owners of me.

I have not argued against the libertarian view that others have no rights against me. This might very well be true. However, an argument is required. Invoking SO will not suffice.

Feser, E. “Personal Identity and Self Ownership”, Social Philosophy and Policy, (2005), 22, 100-125

Honoré A M. Ownership. Making law bind: essays legal and philosophical. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 161–92, (Originally published in Guest AG, ed. Oxford essays in jurisprudence. Oxford: Oxford University Press 1961. 107–147.)

Rothbard, M. “Law, Property Rights and Air Pollution”, The Logic of Action Two (Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 1997), 121-170. Available online at:
135  Economy / Speculation / Where's the "Bitcoin Foundation effect on the price" thread yet? on: September 27, 2012, 11:34:26 AM
136  Other / Off-topic / Starbucks promises support for iOS 6 Passbook at end of September on: September 21, 2012, 10:18:47 PM
Hipsters can pay at Starbucks with their Apple devices soon.

Starbucks promises support for iOS 6 Passbook at end of September

The official Starbucks application for iPhone will be updated at the end of September to add support for Passbook in iOS 6.

The update on Passbook support from Starbucks was revealed on the coffee chain's official Twitter account on Friday, as noticed by iDownloadblog. Once the update is made available, customers will be able to access their Starbucks store card through Passbook when visiting one of the chain's retail locations.

Starbucks support has been shown by Apple in demonstrations of Passbook and iOS 6. But when iOS 6 became available for download this week, the coffee maker was not among the list of companies supporting Passbook at launch.

In fact, the initial list of Passbook supported apps in the iOS 6 App Store is missing a number of companies that had been advertised, including Apple's own retail store application. Since Wednesday, support for Target, American Airlines and United Airlines have been added, but Delta Airlines, Amtrak, W Hotels, and Starwood Hotels remain missing.


Was that the big announcement for September?  Angry
137  Other / Politics & Society / Women and free market on: August 23, 2012, 10:14:24 AM
Women are inherently disadvantaged on a free market. Because they need to take breaks during pregnancies and the time after, women need more security and support. They also feel more connected and responsible for the newborn than men (who seem to "run away" more often than women) and thus have to bear more risk. Hence they are more "social" and are thus drawn to models of society many here would call "socialist".

The insensitivity of many libertarians and ancaps for this set of problems is one aspect that scares many "normal" folks (and leftists) away. I don't like the "big state" solution either, but the "free market" fails to resolve this. Also, women might complain that raising children is hard work, and an undoubtedly necessary service for society, but it is unrewarded by a market because what they do is taken for granted and the market cannot really provide a way to compensate them.

So until there is a satisfying solution for this, I predict we won't have libertarian/ancap "utopia".
138  Economy / Economics / Chart of the day, HFT edition on: August 09, 2012, 12:21:32 PM


This astonishing GIF comes from Nanex, and shows the amount of high-frequency trading in the stock market from January 2007 to January 2012. (Which means that the Knightmare craziness of last week is not included.)

The various colors, as identified in the legend on the right, are all the different US stock exchanges. You might think there are only two stock exchanges in the US, but you’d be wrong: there are only two exchanges where stocks are listed. There are many, many more exchanges where stocks are traded.

What we see here is relatively low levels of high-frequency trading through all of 2007. Then, in 2008, a pattern starts to emerge: a big spike right at the close, at 4pm, which is soon mirrored by another spike at the open. This is the era of traders going off to play golf in the middle of the day, because nothing interesting happens except at the beginning and the end of the trading day. But it doesn’t last long.

By the end of 2008, odd spikes in trading activity show up in the middle of the day, and of course there’s a huge flurry of activity around the time of the financial crisis. And then, after that, things just become completely unpredictable. There’s still a morning spike for most of 2009, but even that goes away eventually, to be replaced with sheer noise. Sometimes, like at the end of 2010, high-frequency trading activity is very low. At other times, like at the end of 2011, it’s incredibly high. Intraday spikes can happen at any time of day, and volumes can surge and fall back in pretty much random fashion.

It’s certainly fair to say that if you take a long, five-year view, then you can see a clear rise in trading activity. But it’s also fair to say that there’s something quite literally out of control going on here. Just as the quants at Knight found themselves unable to turn off their machines for 30 long minutes last week, the HFT world in aggregate seemingly has a mind of its own when it comes to trading patterns. Or, to put it another way, if there’s a pattern here, it’s one incomprehensible to human minds.

Back in 2007, I wasn’t a fan of a financial-transactions tax; today, I am. And this chart shows better than anything why my opinion has changed. The stock market is clearly more dangerous than it was in 2007, with much greater tail risk; meanwhile, in return for facing that danger, society as a whole has received precious little utility. Are spreads a tiny bit tighter than they might be otherwise? Perhaps. But that has no effect on stock-market returns for long-term or even medium-term investors.

The stock market today is a war zone, where algobots fight each other over pennies, millions of times a second. Sometimes, the casualties are merely companies like Knight, and few people have much sympathy for them. But inevitably, at some point in the future, significant losses will end up being borne by investors with no direct connection to the HFT world, which is so complex that its potential systemic repercussions are literally unknowable. The potential cost is huge; the short-term benefits are minuscule. Let’s give HFT the funeral it deserves.

Even Bitcoin has a tobin tax (transaction fee)  Cheesy
139  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / The Pauls' New Crusade: "Internet Freedom" - A Campaign for Liberty Manifesto on: July 05, 2012, 05:28:37 PM
Pro-Bitcoin, Anti-Stallman I guess... Cheesy

The Pauls' New Crusade: "Internet Freedom"
Defending the Internet — and the corporations that invest in it — from government regulation is the new “End the Fed,” Paul advisors tell BuzzFeed exclusively. A new Paul manifesto: “This is our revolution.”

Ron and Rand Paul are set today to shift the central focus of their family's long libertarian crusade to a new cause: Internet Freedom.

Kentucky senator Rand and his father Ron Paul, who has not yet formally conceded the Republican presidential nomination, will throw their weight behind a new online manifesto set to be released today by the Paul-founded Campaign for Liberty. The new push, Paul aides say, will in some ways displace what has been their movement's long-running top priority, shutting down the Federal Reserve Bank. The move is an attempt to stake a libertarian claim to a central public issue of the next decade, and to move from the esoteric terrain of high finance to the everyday world of cable modems and Facebook.


The Technology Revolution
A Campaign for Liberty Manifesto

This is what a technology revolution looks like:

New innovators create vast new markets where none existed previously; Individual genius enabled by the truly free market the Internet represents routes around obsolete and ineffective government attempts at control; The arrogant attempts of governments to centralize, intervene, subsidize, micromanage and regulate innovation is scoffed at and ignored.

The revolution is occurring around the world.

It is occurring in the private sector, not the public sector.

It is occurring despite wrongheaded attempts by governments to micromanage markets through disastrous industrial policy.

And it is driven by the Internet, the single greatest catalyst in history for individual liberty and free markets.

The true technology revolutionaries have little need for big government and never have. Microsoft ignored the government for years and changed the world by leading the PC revolution.

Today, companies like Apple -- which has created several completely new markets out of whole cloth (iPhone, iPad, iTunes, and iPod) -- are changing the world again, successfully adopting visionary new revenue models for movies, songs and games, and launching an “app economy” responsible for creating almost half a million jobs in the United States since the iPhone was introduced…

All in less than 5 years, and all without government permission, partnerships, subsidies, or regulations!

Technology revolutionaries succeeded not because of some collectivist vision that seeks to regulate “fairness”, “neutrality”, “privacy” or “competition” through coercive state actions, or that views the Internet and technology as a vast commons that must be freely available to all, but rather because of the same belief as America’s Founders who understood that private property is the foundation of prosperity and freedom itself.

Technology revolutionaries succeed because of the decentralized nature of the Internet, which defies government control.

As a consequence, decentralization has unlocked individual self-empowerment, entrepreneurialism, creativity, innovation and the creation of new markets in ways never before imagined in human history.

But, ironically, just as decentralization has unleashed the potential for free markets and individual freedom on a global scale, collectivist special interests and governments worldwide are now tirelessly pushing for more centralized control of the Internet and technology.

Here at home they are aided and abetted both by an Administration that wholeheartedly believes in the wisdom of government to manage markets and some in the technology industry that cynically use the cudgel of government control and regulation to hamstring competitors – the Apple’s and Microsoft’s of tomorrow.

Internet collectivism takes many forms, all of them pernicious.

Among the most insidious are government attempts to control and regulate competition, infrastructure, privacy and intellectual property. According to them;

  • Successful companies in brand new frontier industries that didn’t even exist as recently as five years ago should be penalized and intimidated with antitrust actions in the name of “fairness” and “competition.”
  • Privately owned broadband high-speed infrastructure must be subject to collective rule via public ownership and government regulations that require “sharing” with other competitors.
  • Internet infrastructure must be treated as a commons subject to centralized government control through a variety of foolish “public interest” and “fairness” regulations.
  • Wireless, the lifeblood of the mobile Internet revolution, must be micromanaged as a government-controlled commons, with limited exclusive property rights.
  • Private property rights on the Internet should exist in limited fashion or not at all, and what is considered to be in the public domain should be greatly expanded.
  • Private sector data collection practices must be scrutinized and tightly regulated in the name of “protecting consumers”, at the same time as government’s warrantless surveillance and collection of private citizens’ Internet data has dramatically increased.

Internet collectivists are clever.

They are masters at hijacking the language of freedom and liberty to disingenuously push for more centralized control.

“Openness” means government control of privately owned infrastructure.

“Net neutrality” means government acting as arbiter and enforcer of what it deems to be "neutral".

“Internet freedom” means the destruction of property rights.

“Competition” means managed competition, with the government acting as judge and jury on what constitutes competition and what does not.

Our “right to privacy” only applies to the data collection activities of the private sector, rarely to government.

The eminent economist Ludwig von Mises wrote that when government seeks to solve one problem, it creates two more.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the realm of Internet collectivists and the centralized control of the Internet they seek.

The body of incremental communications law and regulation that has emerged since the days of Alexander Graham Bell are entirely unsuited to the dynamic and ever-changing Internet for one simple reason: Technology is evolving faster than government’s ability to regulate it.

Ronald Reagan once said, "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction." But in the Internet era, true Internet freedom can be lost in far less than one generation.

Around the world, the real threat to Internet freedom comes not from bad people or inefficient markets -- we can and will always route around them -- but from governments' foolish attempts to manage and control innovation.

And it is not just the tyrannies we must fear. The road away from freedom is paved with good intentions.

Today, the road to tyranny is being paved by a collectivist-Industrial complex -- a dangerous brew of wealthy, international NGO's, progressive do-gooders, corporate cronies and sympathetic political elites.

Their goals are clear: The collectivist-industrial complex seeks to undermine free markets and property rights, replacing them with "benevolent" government control and a vision of "free" that quickly evolves from "free speech" to "free stuff."

We know where this path leads. As Thomas Jefferson said, "The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground."

A benevolent monopoly for "the public interest" is nothing more than a means for the old guard to reassert their power. The role of the government on the Internet is to protect us from force and fraud, not to decide our interests.

But while the Internet has produced a revolution, it has not, in fact, "changed everything".

We do not need to reinvent our principles for the web; we only need apply our core principles to it. When faced with Internet regulation, we should ask these key questions:

1. Is this a core function of the federal government?
2. Does it execute Constitutionally defined duties?
3. Does it protect Constitutionally defined rights?
4. Does it protect property rights?
5. Does it protect individual rights?
6. If the federal government does not do this, will others?
7. Will this policy or regulation allow the market to decide outcomes or will it distort the market for political ends?
8. Is this policy or regulation clear and specific, with defined metrics and limitations?

Yes, there will always be problems and challenges that exist in the online universe. These challenges are sometimes significant and important and other times not. Government, however, will never solve them. Markets will.

As a matter of principle, we oppose any attempt by Government to tax, regulate, monitor or control the Internet, and we oppose the Internet collectivists who collaborate with the government against Internet freedom.

This is our revolution…. Government needs to get out of the way.
140  Other / Off-topic / An Introduction to Objectivist-C on: May 18, 2012, 07:15:15 PM
An Introduction to Objectivist-C 
Let me introduce you to the best language you’ve never heard of: Objectivist-C. 
Although academic computer scientists have generally dismissed Objectivist-C, it has a zealous following among self-taught programmers and college sophomores. 
In Objectivist-C, software engineers have eliminated the need for object-oriented principles like Dependency Inversion, Acyclic Dependencies, and Stable Dependencies. Instead, they strictly adhere to one simple principle: No Dependencies. 
In Objectivist-C, there are not only properties, but also property rights. Consequently, all properties are @private; there is no @public property. 
In Objectivist-C, each program is free to acquire as many resources as it can, without interference from the operating system. 
In Objectivist-C, there are no exceptions. 
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