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21  Other / Meta / IQ testing now required before posting on: April 01, 2022, 12:02:15 AM
April fools!

In order to improve the overall forum experience, going forward we are only going to allow smart people to post. To determine your intelligence, you will be required to answer a question every time you post (or edit your post). Your answers will be used to calculate your IQ, and starting next week, everyone with an IQ below 120 will be banned.

Let's make Bitcointalk.org into the ivory tower of excellence that it was always meant to be!
22  Other / Meta / Re: [Results 2021] Bitcointalk Community Awards 🏆 on: March 26, 2022, 09:04:13 PM
I'm touched that so many people voted for me. There are many people who deserve to be called "heroes of good" more than me, but I will try to live up to it.

I decline any prize; if there is BTC allocated to me, please donate it to Razom.

Thanks to icopress for organizing this event, and congratulations to the winners!
23  Other / Meta / Re: Russia going offline? on: March 11, 2022, 01:51:50 AM
Why does "Market Rebellion" know anything about this? My instinct is that this rumor will turn out to be false. But assuming it's true:

Bitcointalk.org has long been on Russia's block list, so all current Russian users are using VPNs, etc. If Russia bans all non-Russian IP, then that would make it much more difficult for Russian users to access the rest of the Internet, though there's not much that we can do about that. For example, creating a Tor hidden service wouldn't help them at all.

For Russians to access the Internet, they'll have to personally have some non-wired connection to the regular Internet via Starlink, cross-border laser/radio communication, etc.; or they'll have to proxy their connection via multi-homed devices which have both one of those non-wired connections as well as a Russian IP. Those latter multi-homed devices could act as Tor bridges or VPNs, but keeping these online for long may become difficult because devices with Russian IPs are presumably located in Russia and can easily be shut down by Russian authorities once discovered. The architecture of Tor bridges was not set up for this "cut off an entire country" threat model, and probably won't work well long-term.

A more resilient way of bypassing this kind of censorship is a distributed database like Freenet. These systems function based on an entirely different premise from the normal Internet, so they can't be used to access the normal Internet, but they would allow for more robustly communicating through Russia's firewall. One multi-homed Freenet node could anonymously transfer data from the outside world into Russia, and then this data would be replicated among many Russian-only nodes.

Freenet and similar systems can probably be pretty easily blocked by detecting and blocking all of their traffic, so an even better way of bypassing censorship would be a wireless mesh network combined with a Freenet-like distributed database. I don't know of any well-established software for doing this, though.



In all of the many years I've been admin, I don't think that anything has touched/disturbed me more than knowing that there are many veteran forum members whose countries are currently at war. It's insane that we have several people here who are literally under artillery bombardment and are being forced to defend their homes from soldiers. How is humanity so messed up that an entire bureaucracy and chain of command filled with hundreds of thousands of people are helping to commit this atrocity? And while Ukrainians are the biggest victims of this war, of course, the average Russian person is a victim too: economic cannon fodder in Putin's war.

The Russian section was the first non-English section created (created when Satoshi was the forum's head administrator), and Russian-speakers, including many Ukrainians, were some of the earliest adopters of Bitcoin. This war is a tragedy in many more important ways, but it's specifically a tragedy for the Bitcoin community. My greatest hope is that applied cryptography (of which Bitcoin is probably the most successful example) will enable Russians to resist and eventually overthrow their authoritarian government in ways that give them some chance of continuing their lives. It's not reasonable to expect Russians to resist in ways that lead to almost-certain death or imprisonment.
24  Economy / Auctions / Advertise on this forum - Round 349 on: March 08, 2022, 02:56:24 AM
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/timing

 - Ad slots won in this auction will run from noon April 14 (US Eastern time) to noon May 20. (36 days.)
 - This auction will end sometime between April 5 and April 8, but April 7 is most likely.
 - You must pay within 48 hours of the auction ending. Only Bitcoin is accepted. If you fail to pay in time, your ad slots may be resold, and in cases where I feel that you're acting in bad faith, I may even give you a negative trust rating.
 - You must send me a valid ad (ie. one not breaking any of the styling or other rules) before noon April 13. If you fail to send a valid ad in time, then the ad round will start without you, and you will be "burning time". You can still send an ad after the deadline, and usually this ad will be put up fairly quickly, but no particular timeline is guaranteed after the deadline.
 - If extended downtime or similar issues cause your ad not to be displayed for a long time, we generally give prorated refunds (USD-denominated) for the lost time, but this is not guaranteed.

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 2 mBTC.
- The bidding starts at 2 mBTC.
- The auction ends at an arbitrary time between April 5 and April 8. Times closer to 8:00AM April 7 (US Eastern time) are more likely.
- 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      84       A [step 4: reduced to 82+2=84]
    1      82       B [step 3: reduced to 80+2=82]
    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 48 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).
25  Economy / Auctions / Re: Advertise on this forum - Round 348 on: March 08, 2022, 02:48:50 AM
Auction ended, final result:
Slots mBTC/Slot Person
1 50 Tibu
1 48 MoonbetEcosystem
2 42 nicosey
2 42 yahoo62278
2 40 Panxora_COO
1 36 Hhampuz
26  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Russian Invasion of Ukraine[In Progress] on: March 07, 2022, 08:53:35 PM
How did you people who are complaining about Ukrainian neonazis feel about the Freedom Convoy being smeared in the media for being neonazis because a handful of them apparently were? It's the same thing. You can't judge a whole country/movement based on just a few non-representative anecdotes.

I'm sure that the Ukrainian government is corrupt and has oppressed many people within its borders at various occasions, BTW, which is why I wouldn't donate to their official BTC addresses or anything like that. Just because one side is bad doesn't mean that the other side is good. But that doesn't justify Putin's invasion. If government corruption or bad domestic policies justified war, then everyone would be at war with everyone. IMO the US's invasion of Iraq was far from a justified war, and Ukraine is way better than Iraq was.
27  Economy / Auctions / Re: Advertise on this forum - Round 348 on: March 07, 2022, 08:13:57 PM
Note that bids from Tibu, MoonbetEcosystem, nicosey, and WOW_Crypto will be accepted.

Bids must be evenly divisible by 2 mBTC. When someone breaks this rule, I accept the bid, but I round down to a valid amount.

Current auction status:
Slots mBTC/Slot Person
1 50 Tibu *
1 48 MoonbetEcosystem *
2 42 nicosey *
2 40 Panxora_COO *
4 36 Hhampuz

* = If the auction ended now, the amount paid would be reduced due to the price flattening rule.

The auction continues.
28  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Refusal to Impose a No-fly Zone Over Ukraine: US and NATO are not Weak on: March 05, 2022, 11:12:54 PM
Yeah, the nutcases pressing Biden to create a "no-fly zone" (ie. shoot down Russian planes, ie. start a war with Russia) are going to end up causing WWIII. They're making me dust off my nuclear-war preparedness plans, find my potassium iodide, etc.

BTW, it's a common misconception that global nuclear war would instantly kill everyone and be the end of the world. If you live more than 10-20km from a major city's center, you'll probably survive the initial blasts. Then if you know how to shelter from the fallout in a basement or something for at least a few days, you'll probably survive the radiation. And then if you don't give up, you and your community should be able to adapt to the climate changes caused by "nuclear winter". If you're not right in the middle of a big obvious target, then you're probably not going to be instantly vaporized, so I recommend making some basic preparations.
29  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: Cryptocurrency will not save Russia from sanctions on: March 04, 2022, 04:24:34 PM
BTC will probably not be useful for large-scale evasion of sanctions where a sanctioned person wants to buy million-dollar mansions or whatever. Unless the transaction is purely virtual (like a crypto-to-crypto trade), such a large transaction will be noticed at the physical-world/fiat end of the transaction and investigated. Mixers won't help if authorities are looking right at your stuff in the physical world. Maybe the sanctioned individuals will find crypto useful to do small things like buy access to Netflix, but nothing major.

It is important to note, however, that BTC can be used by ordinary Russians to legally* get around the serious issues created by the sanctions. Currently, ordinary Russians will find it almost impossible to send or receive fiat payments internationally because the Russian banks have been sanctioned, but since ordinary Russians are not themselves sanctioned, they can legally* send/receive BTC internationally. If a parallel BTC economy develops in Russia, that'd be great for Bitcoin, for Russians (because they'll be able to escape some of the economic crush of sanctions), and for the world (because it'll give the Russian state less control over its people, making an uprising more possible).

Note that the regions of Crimea, Luhansk, and Donetsk are ~completely embargoed by US sanctions, so even ordinary people in those areas are sanctioned.* And there are other complicated details of the sanctions.

* As far as I can tell. I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.
30  Other / Politics & Society / Ketanji Brown Jackson on: March 03, 2022, 04:33:31 PM
The Ukraine situation has (rightly) been consuming all the oxygen, but a very important piece of news for the US is that Biden announced his Supreme Court pick recently, Ketanji Brown Jackson. What do you think of her?

I strongly dislike how Biden announced in advance that he was only going to consider ~6.8% of the population based solely on race and sex instead of anything that the potential candidate had any control over. I also dislike that with her, 8 out of the 9 justices will be Ivy League graduates, which isn't exactly a diverse group of justices. (There's a very distinct ruling class in the US. Two of the Supreme Court justices went to the same high school, Jackson is related by marriage to Paul Ryan, etc.) And although it's difficult to get a good read on her legal philosophy before she's actually on the Court, the fact that Biden is nominating her means that she will probably be far from a constitutional-textualist, which will end up being my biggest problem with her long-term.

That said, there are several things I like about Jackson:
 - She seems likely to be supportive of criminal justice reform: her uncle was sentenced to life in prison for nonviolent drug offenses, she helped write improved sentencing guidelines, and she wrote a thesis on how prosecutorial discretion & plea bargains are a perversion of justice. I am very supportive of reforming the broken US criminal justice system.
 - As a public defender, she defended the rights of even unpopular people, such as a Guantanamo Bay detainee and a convicted tax evader.
 - She's had several rulings in favor of corporations and against the government, which shows that she's at least not 100% partisan.

One of the biggest things that Republicans are complaining about is the McGahn ruling, but IMO that's a pretty unimportant case in the grand scheme of things, not necessarily indicative of any partisan bias, and although I don't care much about the underlying legal question, I suppose that I like that her ruling was against the power of the already-overly-powerful executive branch.

Overall, although she's obviously not going to be anywhere near as good as my favorite justice, Gorsuch, I think that she was probably among the best nominees that a Democrat could be expected to nominate.
31  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Russian Invasion of Ukraine[In Progress] on: March 02, 2022, 07:40:53 PM
He who fires a Nuke has the certainty that he will be equally fired upon.

Only if you fire against someone who can fire back. Ukraine has no nukes, and doesn't have a mutual defense alliance with anyone with nukes. There is zero chance that NATO would fire nukes against Russia in retaliation, just as they didn't send in ground troops in response to the ground invasion. (If Russia nuked eg. Poland, then we'd have full-scale global nuclear war.)

On your other points, I hope you're right, but I'm worried that Putin may actually be mad. I can't see how any part of this Ukraine invasion is rational from any perspective.

U.S. officials believe Kyiv will fall in 4-6 weeks, with Russia/Ukraine war lasting over a decade.

https://www.cbsnews.com/live-updates/russia-ukraine-news-kyiv-war-putin-invasion-talks-today/#post-update-8de46653

With the amount of Ukrainian propaganda floating around, there is this notion that Ukraine is winning this war or even has the potential to win this war. It simply is not true.

I agree that there is a probably-wrong perception that Ukraine is on a path to defeating Russia within the next few years, though things have clearly been going much worse for the Russians than they expected. It's hard not to focus on this little speck of justice in this tragic, unjust situation.

I think what might actually result from all this, is that Russia will be broken up into smaller countries, stripped of its nuclear weapons, and
heavy sanctions will be imposed on them to pay for all the damage they have caused.  Think Germany after WWI.

Who's going break them up? Whoever controls Russia's nuclear weapons can stop any effort like that by threatening to nuke the aggressor, so you'd have to have the leader of Russia (Putin or his successors) voluntarily give up their nukes, etc.
32  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Russian Invasion of Ukraine[In Progress] on: March 02, 2022, 04:14:32 AM
Since Putin is apparently now a crazy old man with a Napoleon complex, this horrifying thought occurred to me: If Ukraine resists for many weeks, why wouldn't Putin use a nuclear weapon against them? It'd be like the situation with Japan and the US in WWII: Putin can nuke a couple of Ukrainian cities (probably in the western half) and say, "Surrender unconditionally or I'll nuke a couple more." And he could just continue nuking cities until Ukraine capitulated. NATO wouldn't respond with direct military action, Ukraine doesn't have nuclear weapons of its own, and sanctions are already nearly maxed out. I don't see how Putin has much to lose with this strategy (except that it might horrify his direct subordinates or population enough for them to oust him), and it's a sure-fire way to win Ukraine.

You might think that Putin wouldn't want to get a radioactive wasteland as a prize, but that'd be a misunderstanding of the effects of nuclear weapons. Using appropriately-sized nukes, Putin could destroy dozens of cities without making Ukraine generally uninhabitable. The radioactive fallout would cause serious issues (worse in Ukraine and extending worldwide), but it wouldn't kill that many people in most areas, and it would decay in weeks.

To try to prevent this, the West urgently needs to find some way of giving Putin some sort of hope that he personally can improve his situation without conquering Ukraine. As things stand now, there seems to be zero hope of the sanctions ever being lifted as long as Putin is alive, so Putin sees that his only two options are to give up and become an iron-fisted dictator of a poor country, like North Korea, or continue pursuing his dream of restoring the Russian empire at all costs. The West might offer Russia a series of steps that would lead to progressively removing the sanctions, and it might even be worth offering Putin safe personal exile (like Napoleon) so he can retire in peace. He probably wouldn't take a quiet retirement, but it doesn't hurt to offer it.

If you're within about 250km of Ukraine, it'd be a good idea to:
 - Put important files onto optical media, since a nuclear EMP may destroy hard drives and SSDs.
 - Buy potassium iodide tablets. In case of nuclear fallout, adults take 130mg/day. This will help your long-term survival, but will absolutely not make you immune to radiation.
 - If possible, prepare 2 weeks of food and water in case you have to shelter from fallout. An appropriate shelter will put as much matter between you and the outside world as possible, without any direct airflow. Air filtration isn't necessary, but air should not be able to flow freely in from the outside. Fallout will especially accumulate on the ground outside and on roofs, so you want your shelter to be far from those. A basement is good if it's deep enough, but a shallow basement isn't ideal because you're too close to the ground outside. A subway would probably have too much air flowing from outside. The middle floors of a very tall building can be used, staying as far as possible from the exterior walls.
33  Other / Meta / Re: DT update log on: March 02, 2022, 03:15:21 AM
This month 125 users were eligible.

Old:
Code:
HostFat
gmaxwell
phantastisch
OgNasty
mprep
Foxpup
babo
Welsh
ibminer
Mitchell
vizique
Ticked
wwzsocki
EFS
stompix
hilariousandco
arulbero
Avirunes
buckrogers
Buchi-88
Lesbian Cow
willi9974
cryptodevil
JayJuanGee
achow101
DaveF
examplens
minerjones
irfan_pak10
BitcoinPenny
yahoo62278
bitbollo
Royse777
LFC_Bitcoin
o_solo_miner
sandy-is-fine
Real-Duke
LoyceV
actmyname
LeGaulois
SFR10
TwitchySeal
phishead
TryNinja
johhnyUA
condoras
Lafu
polymerbit
finaleshot2016
Csmiami
crwth
webtricks
duesoldi
bobita
Vispilio
Baofeng
be.open
JollyGood
roycilik
El duderino_
KTChampions
Steamtyme
Coin-1
icopress
bavicrypto
GreatArkansas
sheenshane
3meek
logfiles
Agrawas
Maus0728
TheBeardedBaby
tvplus006
MoxnatyShmel
coinlocket$
dkbit98
mole0815
witcher_sense
bitmover
DdmrDdmr
Lakai01
morvillz7z
Bthd
abhiseshakana
COOLCRYPTOVATOR
lovesmayfamilis
DireWolfM14
1miau
Harkorede
The0ldl_lser
YOSHIE
rxalts
efialtis
Ratimov
geophphreigh
zasad@
Rikafip
Lachrymose
NotATether
bullrun2020bro

New:
Code:
theymos
HostFat
phantastisch
malevolent
qwk
cygan
fronti
mprep
Foxpup
philipma1957
babo
Cyrus
Welsh
ibminer
Mitchell
Ticked
Timelord2067
jeremypwr
EFS
stompix
hilariousandco
Avirunes
Buchi-88
Lesbian Cow
willi9974
JayJuanGee
Rmcdermott927
achow101
DaveF
examplens
yahoo62278
bitbollo
Royse777
LFC_Bitcoin
o_solo_miner
ezeminer
sandy-is-fine
Real-Duke
LoyceV
actmyname
The Pharmacist
LeGaulois
DarkStar_
SFR10
TwitchySeal
phishead
TryNinja
BitcoinGirl.Club
Jet Cash
condoras
Lafu
polymerbit
crwth
webtricks
Ale88
duesoldi
bobita
Vispilio
Baofeng
be.open
imhoneer
krogothmanhattan
wolwoo
RaltcoinsB
roycilik
El duderino_
Coin-1
icopress
bavicrypto
GreatArkansas
sheenshane
o_e_l_e_o
logfiles
Agrawas
GazetaBitcoin
Maus0728
TheBeardedBaby
tvplus006
coinlocket$
dkbit98
mole0815
witcher_sense
DdmrDdmr
Lakai01
morvillz7z
Husna QA
Bthd
abhiseshakana
COOLCRYPTOVATOR
DireWolfM14
TalkStar
The0ldl_lser
rxalts
efialtis
Ratimov
geophphreigh
Rikafip
FatFork
NotATether
bullrun2020bro
34  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Russian Invasion of Ukraine[In Progress] on: March 01, 2022, 03:20:04 AM
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) is putting out daily battle updates. Apparently Russia has been bringing in a lot of tanks, and ISW predicts that they will do a major, much more destructive attack on Kyiv tomorrow.

What I know, that during president election in 2018, 3/4 of all votes were for him. In addition there were those who did not vote. I count that 1/4 of Russian population is suffering from sanctions and etc. Some people made wrong decisions, and now "all those Russians" turned bad immediately. I bet there are places right now where you are got punched in the face for being Russian, even though you did nothing wrong.

I am sick and tired from all that crap from TV. "Stop Russia", "Russians are bad". The people who made decisions are bad. Why blame whole nation when mistakes were done by few people. For example if I in the US I got robbed by a black person and start a picket "Black people are criminals", "Black lives matter" community will disassemble me into molecules next minute.

I dont know who I am really is. Born in USSR, speak Russian, have non-Russian nationality and live in European country. I dont have any connections to Russia. I was only there several times on excursion or passing by. But when I speak Russian on public people look at me like I was that person who bombed Kiev or fired an automatic burst on civilians hour ago.

I haven't seen much attacking of the Russian people, and in fact I've seen several government officials and media sources specifically saying that the Russian people aren't at fault here. (That's just from where I'm sitting in the US, of course - it might be different where you are.)

Certainly, nobody should blame the Russian people for this. When ancient Romans invaded some innocent place, could you blame the Roman's slaves for making the soldiers' weapons? To a greater or lesser degree, it's the same sort of thing for every government, including the US. If you are compelled by fate to be a citizen of some country, compelled by force to pay taxes to support your country, etc., then you bear no responsibility for what you are compelled to do, and you do not have a responsibility to put yourself at personal risk to make your country less evil. In my view, even "perfect" democracy would not change this. The average Russian bears zero responsibility for this invasion, just as I disclaim any responsibility whatsoever for the various atrocities committed by the US in the middle east and elsewhere.

But that doesn't mean that Russians should blame the West for their suffering. Putin and other top Russian-government officials bear primary responsibility: they started this aggressive war, accepting that it might cause various forms of suffering for the Russian people. In war, it's always the ordinary people who suffer most rather than the ones who are chiefly responsible for the war, tragically. If Russia had attacked eg. Turkey, then NATO would respond with actual boots on the ground instead of sanctions, and yet the people dying would be ordinary (probably lower-class) NATO-citizens and Russians. Putin, Biden, and the rest of the ruling class wouldn't be out there getting shot.

I live in Russia and I have a ticket to Georgia on my hands. [...]
The borders are closed and those who did not have time to leave become hostages of the regime. People will simply work and continue to deduct a huge percentage from wages in the form of taxes to the state, thereby supporting the regime against which sanctions are directed. For example with each of my purchases in any store, I have a tax deducted that will support this state. Thus, some the sanctions will work to maintain the regime. [...]
I have constantly heard before about the struggle for human rights, about independence and other wonderful values that are just as close to me, but sanctions in the form of closing borders and lack of support for ordinary citizens seem to say "Russians are not worthy of this, we are absolutely indifferent to their fate." The few remaining oppositionists and human rights defenders in Russia who are close in spirit to European values also turned out to be just Russian garbage. That's how equality works.

I hope you're able to get out of Russia! Everyone deserves freedom, no matter where they were born, or to whom.

I think it'd be a great idea for the West to welcome Russian immigrants/refugees in with open arms. Russia already has a very low birth rate, so depleting their population even more would essentially be an additional type of economic warfare, and helping ordinary people escape the sanctions would make them a little less cruel. Unfortunately, I don't think that the West will actually do this, since a lot of people have the incorrect view that the economy is a zero-sum game where immigrants are stealing resources from the destination country's existing citizens. And although I don't think that most Western leaders are actively hostile to the Russian people overall, they probably are too indifferent to the incredible suffering that their sanctions will cause to their fellow man.
35  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Is Putin Threatening or Serious on: February 28, 2022, 08:27:15 PM
It seems that I was right. Putin ended up invading, while expecting to only need 3 days worth of supplies for his troops. He expected Kiev to fall within 1-2 days, and be greeted with open arms as a liberator. Obviously none of that ended up being the case, and now Putin is at risk of facing defeat.

Yeah, it seems that Putin severely miscalculated. Everything has gone so poorly for Russia that I have to wonder if Putin is going senile or otherwise having real mental issues. If he actually thought that Ukrainians would welcome him with open arms, then he was really out of touch.

I was completely wrong about this whole thing:
 - I thought that US intelligence was making a big fuss about ~nothing because they've wrongly cried wolf many times in the past, but this time they were right.
 - I thought that Putin wouldn't invade and would be more likely to be playing mind games because he has a history of doing smart things and messing with the West, but I was shocked (even more shocked than I thought I'd be) when he actually went for a Kyiv decapitation strike.
 - Because Russia so obviously outmatches Ukraine and there's really no excuse for them failing, I thought they'd take Kyiv within 24 hours if they decided to do so.
 - The West has a history of putting short-term profit before ideals, so I thought they'd do the minimum reaction they could get away with without looking completely weak, but they actually did some pretty severe sanctions, and they've been investing substantially in defending Ukraine. I was especially surprised by the central bank sanctions and the anti-Russian actions by Turkey and Hungary.

I still think that there's no way Zelenskyy can stay in power for long if Russia stays committed to getting rid of him by any means, but my record is terrible, so who knows.
36  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Russian Invasion of Ukraine[In Progress] on: February 26, 2022, 11:05:56 PM
As some others have said already, banning Russia from SWIFT isn't very useful, and may in fact be counterproductive long-term. Banning them from SWIFT is like this: Imagine that most of Russia's exports were sent to the outside world via UPS, and you ban Russia from using UPS. It's very disruptive short-term (for both sides of the trade), but they're just going to switch to Fedex or whatever. Banning Russia from SWIFT is like that: it's short-term very disruptive, but it's not that hard for Russia to find an alternative, and long-term the ban weakens SWIFT. Banning Russia from SWIFT sounds like you're banning sending money to Russia by any means, but it's not. The West could ban sending money to Russia by any means, but Europe is highly dependent on Russian imports, so they're just going to pretend to "completely cut off Russia" by banning them from SWIFT.

The most damaging thing the West could do without putting boots on the ground would probably be to confiscate Russia's central bank reserves like the US did with Afghanistan's central bank.

If you wanted to get rid of Putin ASAP, I think the most effective thing that could be done would be to put a $1 billion bounty on Putin's head, plus a promise of immunity for any past misdeeds. You have to imagine that many of Putin's close associates would rather this nutcase be dead. The West was more-or-less fine with Russia's internal authoritarianism, and Russia's oligarchs had a good thing going, but now Putin has screwed it all up for them. All of these sanctions are clearly designed to eventually make Russians angry enough to get Putin toppled, but a bounty+immunity would be a lot more effective. (I think that issuing this sort of bounty would be considered an act of war, though.)



I was surprised that Kyiv didn't fall last night, and I keep hoping that the Russians are somehow fought off, but it's almost unimaginable that Kyiv isn't going to fall eventually. The force differential is just too large. If Zelenskyy is dedicated to the idea of Ukraine fighting a protracted resistance in the same vein as Afghanistan or Vietnam, he should record a really good speech to broadcast after he is inevitably killed by the Russians, so that he can become an ideal martyr.
37  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Russian Invasion of Ukraine[In Progress] on: February 24, 2022, 11:19:44 PM
The "invasion" of the territories that Russia already occupied since 2014 didn't surprise me; I expected them to do something like that and then stop there. But just before going to sleep last night I was shocked to see that they were apparently doing a full invasion, and I stayed up until 2AM watching the situation unfold...

The information on what's happening is very spotty. Is it possible that Russia "only" did some airstrikes, but they're not going to send in any ground troops outside of the eastern territories? I heard a rumor that Putin gave Zelenskyy an ultimatum to cede eastern Ukraine within 12 hours or else Putin would continue with a full invasion, but I don't know if this comes from a reliable source.

It'd definitely be possible for Ukraine to fight off Russia with a years-long insurgency. The West will be giving them endless supplies, so Russia would have a much harder time than the US had against Afghanistan, for example. But I don't know if the Ukrainians have the will to fight Russia for years, and I don't know that I'd even recommend that they do so, since the costs of this sort of insurgency would be so high.

This situation is so, so tragic. Ukrainians deserve to be free, but many are going to suffer and die for no reason, and the country will probably fall under an authoritarian regime. Russians will suffer a lot, as well: I see no world in which this action does anything but massively hurt the average Russian. Relations between Russia and the West will get even worse. Nothing against the people of these countries, but how does it make any sense that the US has better relations with Vietnam, Japan, and Saudi Arabia than Russia? Russia is part of Europe, their culture descended from Ancient Greece and Rome...
38  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Russian Invasion of Ukraine on: February 22, 2022, 03:11:16 AM
So, Putin today officially recognised Luhansk and Donetsk People's Republics as independent stats. It's something unbeleavable how president of one country can simply decide that part of another country will be independent state.

Any country can say whatever they want. The US said that Juan Guaidó was the legitimate president of Venezuela despite him never having any real hold over the country; they recognized the anti-Assad forces as the true leaders of Syria; they recognized the anti-communist regime as the legitimate leaders of Vietnam in the Vietnam War; they long recognized what is now Taiwan as the legitimate leaders of all of China; etc. In all of those examples, the force backed by the superpower lost. I don't know that Ukraine will ever retake effective control of those regions, but it's not as if Russia's declaration is what will put an end to the issue, and it's not as if Russia is the only country with a history of making these sorts of declarations.

If the disputed territories had mostly Ukrainian nationalists, I don't think that Russia could hold it long-term (even if they could win every single battle fought). But the issue is that a sizable percentage of the population in those regions supports Russia. And if Ukraine is too weak to retain the territory, Russia is willing to exert force to take it, and many more residents are willing to fight for Russia than against Russia, then it seems inevitable that the territories will go to Russia.

Trump is not going to start a new war in response to a Russian invasion, although I do believe he would be open to continuing military operations in the region if he is convinced that is what is best for the US. Trump was harder on Russia than either Obama or Biden, despite the baseless claims of being a Russian agent.

The "Russiagate" stuff is indeed largely conspiracy nonsense, but Trump is more transactional and self-interested than Biden, so I think he'd be willing to lift sanctions in a few years if he could negotiate a deal with Putin which looked like a win.
39  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Donald Trumps’ Truth Social Media: For Freedom of Speech or Politics on: February 21, 2022, 09:17:59 PM
I haven't looked into the platform much, but I heard that its rules are designed to create a "family-friendly" environment. Very weird for a "free speech" platform.

I agree with suchmoon that the whole point of this is a cash-grab, not political. Trump will constantly talk about how this app will destroy the media and the Dems and how you (yes you!) can help out by buying DWAC on the stock market. DWAC will largely just funnel money to Trump and his associates, and the app is just designed to be something to point to as a product, like the "diploma" you get from Trump University.

As Parler and others have found out, it's easy to say that you're going to create a free speech platform; it's much harder when you're forced to answer specific questions like:
 - Are you going to allow probable scams?
 - Are you going to allow doxxing and harassment?
 - Are you going to allow vague threats of violence like "Mr. X is bad, someone should really do something about him"?
 - Are you going to allow probable libel (which is no threat to the platform due to section 230)?
 - Are you going to allow advocating for violence as a policy matter (without inciting violence), such as arguing that all athiests should ideally be executed? This is definitely legal under US law, but it can be incredibly controversial.
 - Are you going to allow support for ideas far outside of the Overton window? For example, some extreme pro-choice people believe that it should be legal to kill babies a couple of months after birth, since there isn't much neurological difference between the brains of those humans and the brains of humans a month or two before birth.
 - Are you going to allow people to advocate for illegal things, such as recommending that people use illegal drugs? This might put the poster himself in legal peril in some cases, but is generally not a legal threat to the platform due to section 230.
 - Will you allow grey-area things such as magnet links to torrents for pirated content? How will you know that these things are actually pirated, and not something similar to Linux liveCDs? Some platforms have had the policy of only ever removing these sorts of things after receiving DMCAs, which should be a legally-justifiable position, but if the platform becomes a hotbed for pirated content, then they often still get in trouble (eg. Mega). So places like Youtube have had to create ad hoc and error-prone systems of copyright detection...
 - Many governments (including the US) engage in active propaganda campaigns. Will you allow people to parrot their propaganda misinformation, perhaps honestly, without knowing that it's misinformation or propaganda?
 - If China hires 1000 people to create 1000 accounts (one account per user, not alts) and has them spread misinformation all day, will you allow that?
 - Etc. Etc.

Bitcointalk.org tries to be pretty free-speech-maximalist, and there are forums which go even further, but the ultimate solution is to create a decentralized forum where nothing can be administratively deleted, and so nobody has to make these choices. Learn from Bitcoin and take the human out of it. But making a usable decentralized forum is also incredibly difficult: the first working decentralized forums were created over a decade ago, but even today hardly anyone uses them because none of them have achieved anywhere close to a sufficient level of usability.
40  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Russian Invasion of Ukraine on: February 19, 2022, 05:14:25 PM
President Biden today said he believes Putin has made the decision to invade and will start an invasion in the coming days.

He and his administration probably does in fact believe that, but I still lean toward thinking that they're being played. I don't think that Russia will do anything that will result in most NATO countries saying, "Yep, that was definitely an invasion of Ukraine, so now we're doing all of the crushing sanctions we'd planned." If Russia fully withdraws without much incident like they've been publicly saying, then at this point it'd be a big blow to the credibility of Biden/America/NATO. Even more likely is that they continue their threatening posture to keep the West in an uncomfortable state of limbo for months.

I wouldn't bet much against an invasion, though, and on the other side of the argument, if Putin knows that he eventually wants to take a piece of Ukraine, now would be the perfect time. The energy market is currently uniquely favorable to Russia, German politics biases them strongly against cutting all ties with Russia, Putin needs a boost in his domestic approval, etc. Also, if Trump is president in 3 years (a distinct possibility), then an attack against Ukraine years in the past under Biden isn't something that Trump would particularly care about.

It looks like if they will do something, we're most likely to see it in the next few days.
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