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161  Economy / Auctions / Advertise on this forum - Round 331 on: January 21, 2021, 01:27:25 PM
The forum sells ad space in the area beneath the first post of every topic page. This income is used primarily to cover hosting costs and to pay moderators for their work (there are many moderators, so each moderator gets only a small amount -- moderators should be seen as volunteers, not employees). Any leftover amount is typically either saved for future expenses or otherwise reinvested into the forum or the ecosystem.

There are 10 total ad slots which are randomly rotated. So one ad slot has a one in ten chance of appearing. Nine of the slots are for sale here. Ads appear only on topic pages with more than one post. Hero/Legendary members, Donators, VIPs, and moderators have the ability to disable ads; these people don't increase the impression stats for your ads.

Design & ad restrictions

Ad text may not contain lies, misrepresentation, or inappropriate language. Ads may not link directly to any NSFW page. No ICOs[1], loggable mixers[2], banks, funds, or anything that a person can be said to "invest" in; I may very rarely make exceptions if you convince me that you are ultra legit, but don't count on it. Ads may be rejected for other reasons, and I may remove ads even after they are accepted.

See the ad design rules for info on designing forum ads.

When advertising a new service, you should always check with me in advance whether your service is OK. I will sometimes accept bids of people who don't do this, but such people are taking the risk of being rejected at the last minute. It's also a good idea for you to have me check your ad's HTML+CSS in advance, especially if this is your first time advertising.

Duration

- Your ads are guaranteed to be up for at least 7 days.
- I usually try to keep ads up for no more than 12 days.
- Sometimes ads might be up for longer, but hopefully no longer than 14 days. Even if past rounds sometimes lasted for long periods of time, you should not rely on this for your ads.

Stats

Exact historical impression counts per slot:
https://bitcointalk.org/adrotate.php?adstats

Info about the current ad slots:
https://bitcointalk.org/adrotate.php?adinfo

Auction rules

New members are likely to have their bids rejected unless they PM me first, telling me what they're going to advertise. New members might also be required to pay some amount in advance. Additionally, if you have never purchased forum ad space before, and it is not blatantly obvious what you're going to advertise, say what you're going to advertise in your first bid, or tell me in a PM.

Post your bids in this thread. Prices must be stated in mBTC per slot. (10 mBTC = 0.01 BTC.) You must state the maximum number of slots you want. When the auction ends, the highest bidders will have their slots filled until all nine slots are filled.

So if someone bids for 9 slots @ 50 mBTC and this is the highest bid, then he'll get all 9 slots. If the two highest bids are 9 slots @ 40 mBTC and 1 slot @ 50 mBTC, then the first person will get 8 slots and the second person will get 1 slot.

The notation "2 @ 50" means 2 slots for 50 mBTC each. Not 2 slots for 50 mBTC total.

- When you post a bid, the bids in your previous posts are considered to be automatically canceled. You can put multiple bids in one post, however, like "5 @ 10 and 1 @ 50".
- All bid prices must be evenly divisible by 5 mBTC.
- The bidding starts at 5 mBTC.
- I will end the auction at an arbitrary time. Unless I say otherwise, I typically try to end auctions within a few days of 10 days from the time of this post, but unexpected circumstances may sometimes force me to end the auction anytime between 4 and 22 days from the start.
- If two people bid at the same price, the person who bid first will have his slots filled first.

If these rules are confusing, look at some of the past forum ad auctions to see how it's done.

I reserve the right to reject bids, even days after the bid is made.

Price flattening

At the end of the auction, after the winning bids are all determined, I will do a "price flattening" operation. This has no effect on which bids actually win, but is instead just meant to make the prices actually paid by bidders more equal. For each bid, in order of lowest to greatest price/slot, I will reduce each bid's price/slot to the highest value which is equal to or only the minimum increment greater than the next-lower bid. This allows you to bid higher prices without worrying so much, but you still mustn't bid more than you're willing to pay. Example:

Code:
This:
Slots  mBTC/Slot  Person
    6      200       A
    1      160       B
    1       80       C
    1       80       D

Becomes:
Slots  mBTC/Slot  Person
    6      90       A [step 4: reduced to 85+5=90]
    1      85       B [step 3: reduced to 80+5=85]
    1      80       C [step 2: same as the next-lowest, unchanged]
    1      80       D [step 1: the lowest bid is always unchanged]

Payment, etc.

You must pay for your slots within 24 hours of receiving the payment address. Otherwise your slots may be sold to someone else, and I might even give you a negative trust rating. I will send you the payment information via forum PM from this account ("theymos", user ID 35) after announcing the auction results in this thread. You might receive false payment information from scammers pretending to be me. They might even have somewhat similar usernames. Be careful.

[1]: For the purposes of forum ads, an ICO is any token, altcoin, or other altcoin-like thing which meets any of the following criteria: it is primarily run/backed by a company; it is substantially, fundamentally centralized in either operation or coin distribution; or it is not yet possible for two unprivileged users of the system to send coins directly to each other in a P2P way. The intention here is to allow community efforts to advertise things like Litecoin, but not to allow ICO funding, even when the ICO is disguised in various ways.
[2]: A loggable mixer is a service marketed primarily for improving transaction privacy which accepts full custody of cryptocurrency for a time and has the technical ability to log where the cryptocurrency comes from and goes to (even if they promise not to log).
162  Economy / Auctions / Re: Advertise on this forum - Round 330 on: January 21, 2021, 01:27:06 PM
Auction ended, final result:
Slots mBTC/Slot Person
4 10 DogecoinMachine
3 5 BoXXoB
2 5 lightlord
163  Other / Politics & Society / Re: How will Trump leave the White House? on: January 20, 2021, 11:49:34 PM
Walked right out the front door, like I said.

Didn’t have to be dragged through the WH by the secret service, or a swat team or anything like that. Guy left on Air Force One and went down to the Mar A Lago. Guess we’ll see if he starts his own party or does something along those lines.

He continued to say that he wouldn’t be fully out of politics and that he’ll be back in some form.

Yeah, he's always been too lazy/incompetent/unambitious to plan a real coup or anything like that. That said, I had been concerned that he might've gone so far off the deep end that he might do something out of actual insanity, so I'm relieved to see him gone, even though I'm not looking forward to the next 2+ years of Democratic control. I'll be curious to see what Trump does with himself. Probably it'd be best for everyone including himself if he just retires, but that seems unlikely.

Biden's inauguration speech was pretty poor, with a lot of platitudes and politician-speak. He tried to promote unity, but to me this call for unity came across as very fascist/authoritarian (which was also my impression of the DNC); it would've been more appropriate for him to have given the speech in the House where he'd have fasces hanging behind him... Moreover, he clearly wants to reduce tribalism and promote a wider American nationalism, but I think that the majority of Trump's 70+ million voters will hear Biden's speech as calling them white nationalists and domestic terrorists. To be clear: I think that it was and is possible for Biden to speak in a way which does reduce tribalism and make many Trump supporters accept him, and in fact the last few minutes of the speech was better at this, but on the whole this speech will fail to create any actual unity IMO, and it portends perhaps an even more divisive 4 years than the last 4.
164  Economy / Auctions / Re: Advertise on this forum - Round 330 on: January 18, 2021, 08:02:40 PM
9 @ 6 mBTC

I will not accept your bids.

Current status:
Slots mBTC/Slot Person
3 5 BoXXoB
4 5 lightlord
1 5 elianite


The auction continues.
165  Other / Politics & Society / Re: "Happy" Anniversary Covid-19 on: January 12, 2021, 09:50:57 PM
Random reflections on a year of COVID:
  • When the first cases appeared in China, I, like most people, dismissed it as an overblown thing like SARS or bird flu. Obviously it's become a world-shaping event.
  • When the lockdowns started, I thought that they would only last a few months, and even that few months would cause widespread economic ruin. The extended on-again-off-again lockdowns were surprising -- I was especially surprised by people's tolerance for it --, and I was surprised by how well the economy has handled it so far. Underneath the well-performing markets and some improving data, I suspect that there is quite substantial economic (and social) scarring, though.
  • I thought that the lockdowns were stupid when they were enacted, and I still think that they were probably bad ideas when weighing costs and benefits. It's not as if the lockdowns actually stopped the spread in most countries. The only countries that were able to largely stop COVID were extremely repressive regimes like China, and this repression is not an acceptable cost.
  • I don't put any particular blame on Trump, or give him any particular credit. Any other president would've probably taken 95% the same actions. Most Western countries had similar COVID stats regardless of their politics or what responses they took.
  • I'm still unsure whether the overall freakout about COVID was/is actually rational, or whether it was more of an out-of-control meme. Clearly COVID is much worse than flu, and its threat to human life should not be taken lightly, but does it warrant the enormously larger response than flu? I haven't done enough research on the stats to decide on this, and a lot still isn't known.
  • I'm surprised at how I've internalized the stay-at-home mindset, social distancing, mask-wearing, etc. myself. Even knowing that I'm not personally at much risk of dying, I have become super careful about this stuff. I like to think of myself as being sort of separate from society, but clearly I am far from outside of society's influence.
  • The boost in medical research is promising. Genetic engineering and genetic therapies will be important in the future. Vaccines were very much delayed by FDA rules, though. If people had been given the option to take less-than-fully-tested vaccines, various vaccines would've been out to the public in spring 2020 and very widespread by now.
  • COVID is a major turning point in history, probably even bigger than the 9/11 terrorist attack. Trump probably would've won in 2020 if not for COVID. Division was increased between pro-lockdown/anti-lockdown groups, and between people who thrived during the pandemic (largely the already-well-off) and those who were brought to the brink of survival (a lot of the working class). Extreme government spending and money-printing has been normalized worldwide. The majority of people have had their lives substantially disrupted, and have gotten used to a totally different way of living. The economy was damaged in a way that will have long-lasting effects. We're only seeing the tip of the iceberg of all the effects. We're not going "back to normal", that's for sure.
166  Other / Meta / Re: HTTP ERROR 403 on: January 11, 2021, 02:13:02 PM
Fixed, thanks.
167  Other / Meta / Re: What's happening? A forum bug? on: January 11, 2021, 01:45:15 PM
It's annoying that browsers are doing this prefetching without any way for sites to signal that they shouldn't, but it's even more annoying that each browser has a separate way of indicating it via headers, and it's all very poorly-documented. In the case of Opera and apparently some versions of Safari, it seems that a prefetching request can be identified if it has a Sec-Fetch-Dest header but does not have a Sec-Fetch-User header. Bitcointalk.org blocks such requests now. (If anyone starts seeing random 403s, this may be the cause; let me know right away in that case.)

As far as I can tell, there is no reliable way to distinguish between prefetch requests and normal requests on these browsers. This is a browser bug; complain to them. There's nothing I can do without totally changing the way topic-visited-tracking works.
168  Economy / Auctions / Advertise on this forum - Round 330 on: January 11, 2021, 12:25:34 PM
The forum sells ad space in the area beneath the first post of every topic page. This income is used primarily to cover hosting costs and to pay moderators for their work (there are many moderators, so each moderator gets only a small amount -- moderators should be seen as volunteers, not employees). Any leftover amount is typically either saved for future expenses or otherwise reinvested into the forum or the ecosystem.

There are 10 total ad slots which are randomly rotated. So one ad slot has a one in ten chance of appearing. Nine of the slots are for sale here. Ads appear only on topic pages with more than one post. Hero/Legendary members, Donators, VIPs, and moderators have the ability to disable ads; these people don't increase the impression stats for your ads.

Design & ad restrictions

Ad text may not contain lies, misrepresentation, or inappropriate language. Ads may not link directly to any NSFW page. No ICOs[1], loggable mixers[2], banks, funds, or anything that a person can be said to "invest" in; I may very rarely make exceptions if you convince me that you are ultra legit, but don't count on it. Ads may be rejected for other reasons, and I may remove ads even after they are accepted.

See the ad design rules for info on designing forum ads.

When advertising a new service, you should always check with me in advance whether your service is OK. I will sometimes accept bids of people who don't do this, but such people are taking the risk of being rejected at the last minute. It's also a good idea for you to have me check your ad's HTML+CSS in advance, especially if this is your first time advertising.

Duration

- Your ads are guaranteed to be up for at least 7 days.
- I usually try to keep ads up for no more than 12 days.
- Sometimes ads might be up for longer, but hopefully no longer than 14 days. Even if past rounds sometimes lasted for long periods of time, you should not rely on this for your ads.

Stats

Exact historical impression counts per slot:
https://bitcointalk.org/adrotate.php?adstats

Info about the current ad slots:
https://bitcointalk.org/adrotate.php?adinfo

Auction rules

New members are likely to have their bids rejected unless they PM me first, telling me what they're going to advertise. New members might also be required to pay some amount in advance. Additionally, if you have never purchased forum ad space before, and it is not blatantly obvious what you're going to advertise, say what you're going to advertise in your first bid, or tell me in a PM.

Post your bids in this thread. Prices must be stated in mBTC per slot. (10 mBTC = 0.01 BTC.) You must state the maximum number of slots you want. When the auction ends, the highest bidders will have their slots filled until all nine slots are filled.

So if someone bids for 9 slots @ 50 mBTC and this is the highest bid, then he'll get all 9 slots. If the two highest bids are 9 slots @ 40 mBTC and 1 slot @ 50 mBTC, then the first person will get 8 slots and the second person will get 1 slot.

The notation "2 @ 50" means 2 slots for 50 mBTC each. Not 2 slots for 50 mBTC total.

- When you post a bid, the bids in your previous posts are considered to be automatically canceled. You can put multiple bids in one post, however, like "5 @ 10 and 1 @ 50".
- All bid prices must be evenly divisible by 5 mBTC.
- The bidding starts at 5 mBTC.
- I will end the auction at an arbitrary time. Unless I say otherwise, I typically try to end auctions within a few days of 10 days from the time of this post, but unexpected circumstances may sometimes force me to end the auction anytime between 4 and 22 days from the start.
- If two people bid at the same price, the person who bid first will have his slots filled first.

If these rules are confusing, look at some of the past forum ad auctions to see how it's done.

I reserve the right to reject bids, even days after the bid is made.

Price flattening

At the end of the auction, after the winning bids are all determined, I will do a "price flattening" operation. This has no effect on which bids actually win, but is instead just meant to make the prices actually paid by bidders more equal. For each bid, in order of lowest to greatest price/slot, I will reduce each bid's price/slot to the highest value which is equal to or only the minimum increment greater than the next-lower bid. This allows you to bid higher prices without worrying so much, but you still mustn't bid more than you're willing to pay. Example:

Code:
This:
Slots  mBTC/Slot  Person
    6      200       A
    1      160       B
    1       80       C
    1       80       D

Becomes:
Slots  mBTC/Slot  Person
    6      90       A [step 4: reduced to 85+5=90]
    1      85       B [step 3: reduced to 80+5=85]
    1      80       C [step 2: same as the next-lowest, unchanged]
    1      80       D [step 1: the lowest bid is always unchanged]

Payment, etc.

You must pay for your slots within 24 hours of receiving the payment address. Otherwise your slots may be sold to someone else, and I might even give you a negative trust rating. I will send you the payment information via forum PM from this account ("theymos", user ID 35) after announcing the auction results in this thread. You might receive false payment information from scammers pretending to be me. They might even have somewhat similar usernames. Be careful.

[1]: For the purposes of forum ads, an ICO is any token, altcoin, or other altcoin-like thing which meets any of the following criteria: it is primarily run/backed by a company; it is substantially, fundamentally centralized in either operation or coin distribution; or it is not yet possible for two unprivileged users of the system to send coins directly to each other in a P2P way. The intention here is to allow community efforts to advertise things like Litecoin, but not to allow ICO funding, even when the ICO is disguised in various ways.
[2]: A loggable mixer is a service marketed primarily for improving transaction privacy which accepts full custody of cryptocurrency for a time and has the technical ability to log where the cryptocurrency comes from and goes to (even if they promise not to log).
169  Economy / Auctions / Re: Advertise on this forum - Round 329 on: January 11, 2021, 12:25:11 PM
Auction ended, final result:
Slots mBTC/Slot Person
2 20 lightlord
4 15 sportsbet.io
3 15 DogecoinMachine
170  Other / Politics & Society / Re: US Elections 2020 - very self such moderated on: January 09, 2021, 02:02:58 PM
So aside from this being dangerous I think it's important to talk about the implications of banning the current sitting President, soon to be ex-President.

These are private platforms, and legally-speaking they should be able to do what they want. If the government says that they have to allow X, or must ban Y, then you're giving the government a dangerous level of control over speech. If section 230 is repealed, then you're giving these companies a huge incentive to delete anything even remotely controversial, since they could be held liable otherwise. In either case, you're discouraging competition to the huge companies because you're creating a situation of regulatory capture: big companies are better-able to handle burdensome legal regimes. For example, a few years ago Congress carved out an exception in section 230 for certain sex crimes. As a result, Craigslist had to shut down their dating sections because they didn't have the resources to moderate them strictly enough. Later, Facebook created a dating service, since they have much more resources, and they can deal with the 230 carve-out. Regulations lead to centralization at the top.

If you don't like how these companies do business, then use a different site. There are ways that this is bad/uncomfortable, but the alternative ways of possibly handling it are much worse.

As for the decision to ban this stuff itself: I can see how honest, well-meaning actors at these companies might justify their recent actions. Many of the people who participated in the capitol riot thought that they were doing the right thing, and maybe didn't even realize how much danger they were putting themselves in, but yet a few of them are dead and many of them are going to prison for a long time. People at these companies might reason that too many people are just too susceptible to being manipulated, and at least the top platforms should try to protect them from themselves. The most persistent believers will go elsewhere, and they should have the freedom to do so, but by having the most popular platforms cultivate their communities more, they might actually succeed in reducing the future growth of some of these crazy thought-bubbles.

There is a big risk, however, that this just creates more division. These people can go to Parler, and if Parler is gone from Google Play then they can create their separate app store. It leads down a road of basically splitting the Internet in two, and then we're going to have two almost completely separate cultures of people living amongst each other, which is a dangerous situation. Also, I think you're right in that a big part of their motivation is in appeasing the incoming administration, and these companies do have a history of being very biased. The recent decision by Twitter was clearly them just jumping onto a bandwagon, not a principled decision. IMO they'd be better-off trying to completely redesign the structure of their sites with the goals of 1) making manipulation more difficult and 2) not even giving themselves the opportunity to let their bias affect moderation. It's a difficult problem, though.
171  Other / Politics & Society / Re: U.S. Elections 2020, epic bet: nullius vs. theymos! on: January 09, 2021, 01:41:43 AM

I appreciate you following through, especially when that 0.01 BTC has increased in value so much since the bet was made! The administrative state is always a problem, but IMO it's likely to be even worse in the Biden administration, so the NCLA's work will be needed; I donated to them myself last year.
172  Economy / Auctions / Re: Advertise on this forum - Round 329 on: January 07, 2021, 09:27:33 PM
nokati's bids will not be accepted.

Current auction status:
Slots mBTC/Slot Person
4 15 sportsbet.io
5 15 DogecoinMachine


The auction continues.
173  Other / Politics & Society / Re: 25th Amendment after Trump supporters riot in the Capital on: January 07, 2021, 09:06:19 PM
After Giuliani's call to the senator and Trump's call to the Georgia Secretary of State, I'm thinking that Trump might seriously be having a mental breakdown. He's a self-centered narcissist; this alone isn't so bad, and many such people are able to do good things. However, when these people go truly nuts, you can get things like Jonestown. Trump is old, he just had COVID a couple months ago, he's had a traumatic 4 years, and failing so publicly and completely challenges his whole worldview, so a mental breakdown doesn't seem that unlikely. If so, he may literally be unable to comprehend that he's actually lost; he may really think that the election was stolen from him through some conspiracy. There's a risk then that if Israel and Saudi Arabia prod him in the right way, they could get him to think that Iran was behind it, and he could order a strike on them. Or even worse, he could get it into his head that China is behind it, and order a nuclear strike against a nuclear power. These are pretty unlikely, but I would feel better if Trump was 25thed. It's difficult to pull off, though, so I doubt it'll happen.

I think that "teflon Don" really did go too far this time. He was clearly stoking the flames before and during the riot, even if he came just shy of actively supporting them. All of the Republican old guard are abandoning him. They did the same thing after the Access Hollywood tape, but this looks more widespread and final. IMO he won't be able to win a 2024 primary, and his brand will become somewhat tainted in the Republican party.
174  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Pro-Trump rioters breach Capitol, forcing lockdown; one person shot... on: January 06, 2021, 11:42:57 PM
I totally called it:  Grin
there will be a large number of pro-Trump armed protesters there. I suppose I could imagine them storming the capital, overwhelming the fairly weak police forces in and around D.C., and Trump intentionally not using his resources to stop them, so that they are able to actually disrupt the vote count. This could last for a few days, maybe, before the government apparatus including the military work together to arrest Trump for treason or whatever. Trump would eventually totally fail, but it would be a huge shock to the American psyche.

The D.C. police is notoriously weak, and it was well-known that armed protesters were going to flood the area, so this isn't surprising at all. And Trump is acting like a complete idiot, as usual. His statements (ie. almost supporting the violence) put him right on the line of having people actually be able to credibly come after him for treason, and there is no endgame whatsoever: it's all just self-destructive, childlike narcissism. A popular, competent, and/or well-connected leader would've had some chance of actually succeeding in a coup, or maybe exploiting the confusion to get sufficient public support to stay in power. But Trump is neither popular, nor competent, nor well-connected, and he's a few more stupid words away from the point where the National Guard of the surrounding states are going to come in and arrest him.

I'm no Trump hater -- the Russiagate stuff was nonsense, and grading on a curve I'd say that Trump's presidency has been pretty good --, but he's clearly lost his mind, and Republican politicians who continue to go along with him are committing political suicide. Trump formed a strong, loyal coalition among evangelicals, economic conservatives, social conservatives, the working class, and nutcases, but now all but the nutcases have abandoned him. He no longer has a strong, useful base that politicians should covet. Someone needs to make an image macro of that scene from that Batman movie where Bane is "crashing this plane with no survivors", and he sacrifices one of his own minions; replace the minion's face with Ted Cruz, and Bane's with Trump's.

Quote from: mindrust
I think USA has just passed the point of no returns.

US politics is on a trajectory that is unsustainable and will eventually collapse, but I think that this is more of a symptom of that than anything that will change that trajectory one way or another. It will have a major impact on politics, but things will be mostly back to normal in a few months. This won't actually disrupt Biden taking power or anything.

The longer this lasts, the worse things will be for Trump and Republicans. But even if Trump literally throws his support behind an armed coup (which will inevitably fail), it won't be the end of the Republican party forever or anything.
175  Other / Politics & Society / Re: US Elections 2020 - very self such moderated on: January 06, 2021, 04:46:59 AM
Well, this is disappointing. It would've been surprising a month ago, but after the Republicans' many recent failures, I'm not surprised. Looking forward:

I think that Democrats will be able to increase taxes a little, though not as much as what Biden proposed. Maybe corporate rates will go from 21% to 25%, and the top individual rate will go up a few points to Obama levels. I'd guess no changes to capital gains, or something fairly small if anything. Personally, I don't care too much about tax increases or big one-time spending projects (eg. a green infrastructure program); I'm much more concerned with lasting changes to law and precedent. Free speech is likely to be attacked through attacks on "hate speech" and substantially changing section 230. Minor gun control measures are likely. Further privacy violations are likely, especially in finance: all BTC holdings may be required to reported in the same way as foreign accounts, for example. Various harmful regulations are likely. Foreign involvement will increase, and while the administration may seem less bellicose compared to Trump, there will be probably be one or more Libya-style interventions. The administrative state will become larger, more powerful, and more entrenched. The best I can hope for is that Democrats are not very efficient or unified, they waste a lot of time not getting much lasting lawmaking done, and Republicans retake the House or Senate in 2 years. (A unified Republican government would do some of the same bad things I listed above, BTW, maybe just 20% less bad overall.)

I've been thinking that after a few quarters of above-average growth due to a partial recovery from COVID, the economy is headed for 5+ years of very low growth and moderate inflation due to scarring from the economic damage that's been done, a lot of accumulated malinvestment, and the unprecedented levels of spending and money-printing. This election result probably won't have a huge effect on the economic outlook one way or another, though the economic situation may put Democrats on the back foot politically going forward. This economic environment is good for BTC, but there is a very high probability of harmful regulations, so this election result makes me more bearish for Bitcoin over the next few years.

Some silver linings:

First, if Republicans had won, it'd be 2 years of boring stonewalling from McConnell, whereas the current situation will be a much more interesting display of infighting and intense political maneuvering. Democrats have several deep divides which they'll have to deal with. Republicans will be trying to play of a game of simultaneously trying to build back their base, stopping Democrats from enacting their major policy goals or getting wins, and negotiating-with/pressuring Democrats to bring them further right. It'll be fun to watch.

Second, maybe this will knock some sense into Republicans, and they'll move away from their current strategy of mostly abandoning two-thirds of their supporters in favor of pandering extra strongly to the most braindead segment of Republican voters. I want to see halfway-decent Republicans like Rand Paul and Mike Lee learn from Trump's past successes, but forcefully reject Trump's insanity. They need to stop saying, "Well, maybe it's OK to be a little bit completely insane." (Not because I care about American institutions, but because insanity leads to failure, and I don't want to see 20 years of Democratic control of government.)

Third, as part of winning, Democrats chose to form a coalition with many quite economically conservative groups of voters. There's no way they're going to even attempt something like Medicare for All anytime soon; Biden himself would veto it. Today's Democratic party is firmly a neoliberal party, basically an extension of the Business Roundtable. This is definitely bad, but it's 95% status quo: "Nothing will fundamentally change," as Biden famously said.
176  Other / Politics & Society / Re: US Elections 2020 - very self such moderated on: January 05, 2021, 09:49:13 PM
Isn't it 2 hours per state? I remember reading something about objections for each state being "disposed of" with a 2-hour debate and vote, which to me sounded like no matter how many objections there are it's all resolved at once. And they wouldn't object to red state votes, would they.

There was a nonpartisan expert on C-SPAN's Washington Journal recently who said that it's 2 hours per objection, and that there can be more than one objection per state. In the past, multiple objections were combined, but only via unanimous consent in the joint session. Reading the law myself, it doesn't seem crystal clear to me that 2 hours per objection isn't allowed or intended, though a ridiculous filibuster probably wasn't envisioned.

Granted Pence could choose to interpret it differently and there is probably not much that could be done about it but I just don't see him being politically suicidal like that. He's probably eyeing 2024 too.

I think so too; he seems to be of the "put on a good show and slowly ease into being able to put Trump's madness behind us" mindset. But he's difficult to read, and maybe he could somehow be pressured into it.
177  Other / Politics & Society / Re: US Elections 2020 - very self such moderated on: January 05, 2021, 08:58:02 PM
Listened to a 538 podcast recently and they addressed this - it's more likely than you would think, mostly because of the "I don't vote for women or black guys" crowd. 

There will be a little effect from that, and one-of-each could happen, but I think that the average person is incorrectly reasoning about this in the opposite direction. I've seen a lot of people thinking basically, "Each candidate has about a 50% chance of winning, so the chance that the Democrats win both is 50%*50% = 25%." The results of both elections will be extremely highly correlated, though, so that line of thinking is totally wrong, and it's giving a whole lot of people the wrong intuition.

I have no idea who's going to win. If the Democrats win, it will be the Republicans' own fault in many different ways. I don't worry about it too much, since their control of both the Senate and the House will be too narrow to do anything too shocking, though I do think that it'd be much better for the Republicans to maintain control and for us to get 2+ years of total gridlock.

I have to say, the sheer idiocy of so many Republicans has been making me root for the Democrats a bit, even though from an ideological/utilitarian perspective I think gridlock is better than Republican control which is better than Democrat control. Any person or institution that is this incompetent, irrational, and unwilling to even privately believe uncomfortable truths deserves to fail utterly and be replaced by people who actually have working brains. (There's plenty of irrationality and living in bubbles on the Democratic side as well, and in humanity as a whole, but it's really gotten insane in the Republican party.)



Turning to the electoral vote counting tomorrow: Probably it will be basically like normal but with 2 hours of pointless and predictable extra speeches from both sides, with many Republicans basically just putting on a show to be able to say "hey, I tried." But I was thinking today about how it could possibly go off the rails:

First, there will be a large number of pro-Trump armed protesters there. I suppose I could imagine them storming the capital, overwhelming the fairly weak police forces in and around D.C., and Trump intentionally not using his resources to stop them, so that they are able to actually disrupt the vote count. This could last for a few days, maybe, before the government apparatus including the military work together to arrest Trump for treason or whatever. Trump would eventually totally fail, but it would be a huge shock to the American psyche.

Second, it seems to me that the law allows Republicans to filibuster the counting process. They could just endlessly submit objections, and if Pence goes along with it, then each objection results in 2 hours of debate. They could extend it all the way to Jan 20 if they want. Now, this would be extremely stupid, since there is no end-game. The whole process would grind on and on, with almost everyone across the country and in Congress growing to despise this process and Trump. Kind of like the impeachment, but in the opposite direction and much worse. It'd be a good thing to do if Republicans want to try getting Trump's approval down to 5%. And then on Jan 20, Pelosi would by law become President, so what have you gained? Maybe a competent President with tons of support among both the bureaucracy and the people could use the uncertainty surrounding this whole unprecedented succession issue to successfully stay in power, but Trump is nowhere near being able to pull that off. However, several Republicans seem to be thinking about nothing except what their base supporters will say on Twitter over the next 6 hours rather than doing any sort of sane planning, and if enough of them are like that, this mess could maybe occur. (I do think that Pence has to go along with it, though.)

But if enough Republicans are sane, they will try to get this over with as soon as possible, sticking their necks out as little as possible. Nobody should've committed themselves to signing onto these objections in the first place (just politically, not even thinking about ideology), but that ship has probably sailed.

(Note that the winners of the Georgia race will not be certified in time for it to have any impact here unless maybe if things do go way off the rails.)
178  Other / Meta / Re: What Are these spammers trying to do? on: January 03, 2021, 01:35:25 PM
Not sure what they're trying to do. In case it is some SEO-motivated thing, I added rel="ugc" to all newbie links. While I was at it, I also added this to all links in signatures.

Thanks to everyone reporting them!
179  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Why don`t we all make the supply? on: January 03, 2021, 02:23:19 AM
A decentralized cryptocurrency probably can't do that because you can't separate out real individual people in a decentralized way. You need a central authority to say who on the network is a different person.

Maybe a CBDC will try it at some point. In fact, central banks have cited the ability to do widespread, instant "airdrops" as one of the motivations behind creating CBDCs. (Such airdrops would be much more effective than asset purchases or interest rate controls at creating inflation, which central banks want to do and have been having trouble doing.) Economically, I think your idea would be the same as UBI funded by inflation rather than by taxation (ie. MMT-style). I don't think that the inflation funding is a huge problem, especially if the inflation it causes is predictable and not too high. The economic effects of UBI aren't clear, but I doubt it'd be completely catastrophic, at least. So the idea might be workable in some sense, and maybe it'll happen some day.

When I read your title, "Why don't we all make the supply?", I was reminded of a different idea for a decentralized cryptocurrency based on totally different principles from Bitcoin, though. (This is an old idea, dating back to at least 2012, and it's not mine.) An extremely brief summary of the idea is:
 - Everyone can create an infinite number of their own distinct currency. I can make as many theymos-coins as I want, you can make as many pizza-coins as you want, etc. Everyone also accepts only their own currency for work. If you want to hire me, you have to pay me in theymos-coins.
 - If I know you personally, I might say that I'll lend you up to 10 theymos-coins in return for pizza-coin collateral at a 1:1 ratio and 0% interest. This expresses a real-life trust relationship: I trust that you'll pay me back some day by either doing work for me in return for my pizza-coins or by acquiring theymos-coins elsewhere and paying me back using that, and I trust that you won't inflate your currency excessively. If I trust you or value your work more, I might accept larger loans, or at a ratio more favorable to you. If I trust you or value your work less, I might accept smaller loans, or at a ratio less favorable to you, or demand a rate of interest. Each pair of people would have different trust relationships, and usually no relationship at all (ie. they would not accept these loans from each other).
 - If you want to buy something from Joe, who you don't know/trust, but Joe and I trust each other & you and I trust each other, then you can do this by having me borrow Joe-coins from Joe, and then you either trade or borrow those Joe-coins from me. Then you have Joe-coins, and you can buy from Joe.
 - In theory, the entire world would be connected by a global trust graph, so everyone could trade with everyone else freely through a few steps.

One reason why this system in particular is interesting is that it can be done in a perfectly decentralized way without a blockchain, or proof-of-stake, or anything like that. In other words, this system could be in several ways more decentralized than Bitcoin. The downside is that it's more complicated, and you'd occasionally experience various failures in localized areas of the trust graph (eg. liquidity limitations, spreading insolvencies, etc.), and these failures are difficult to predict, model, and deal with. The failures could perhaps be made very rare through excellent software, though this system might require you to accept some background rate of failures. (You might've noticed that the whole system is very like the Lightning Network, though LN is easier because it can be based on a single stable medium of exchange and a reliable ultimate base layer.) I've been disappointed that nobody has seriously tried to implement this idea, even though it's been around for ~10 years.
180  Other / Politics & Society / Re: The target would appear to be Jan. 6 on: January 03, 2021, 01:40:34 AM
BADecker, just hypothetically, what are you going to do if Joe Biden is in total control of the government on Jan 21, only a small percentage of the population thinks that this is a big problem, and there is no mass uprising?
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