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61  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.
62  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.
63  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.
64  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.)
65  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!
66  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.
67  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?
68  Other / Meta / Re: DT update log on: January 02, 2021, 11:16:57 PM
This month 150 users were eligible.

Old:
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dooglus
gmaxwell
OgNasty
SebastianJu
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vizique
Ticked
jeremypwr
dbshck
greenplastic
hilariousandco
Avirunes
mindrust
buckrogers
Lesbian Cow
willi9974
JayJuanGee
Rmcdermott927
DaveF
examplens
nutildah
minerjones
tmfp
yahoo62278
Royse777
zazarb
LFC_Bitcoin
o_solo_miner
ezeminer
sandy-is-fine
SyGambler
klarki
LoyceV
actmyname
The Pharmacist
LeGaulois
DarkStar_
TwitchySeal
phishead
TryNinja
bob123
eddie13
johhnyUA
Jet Cash
condoras
Coin_trader
polymerbit
Yatsan
finaleshot2016
crwth
Ale88
duesoldi
Vispilio
imhoneer
wolwoo
JollyGood
RaltcoinsB
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roycilik
CryptopreneurBrainboss
El duderino_
KTChampions
bavicrypto
Veleor
o_e_l_e_o
3meek
vycl87
Maus0728
TheBeardedBaby
tvplus006
dkbit98
mole0815
witcher_sense
MoparMiningLLC
asche
cabalism13
anonymousminer
morvillz7z
Bthd
fillippone
taikuri13
abhiseshakana
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Corrosive
TalkStar
efialtis
Ratimov
geophphreigh
zasad@
Rikafip

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dooglus
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babo
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TookDk
Mitchell
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jeremypwr
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Lydian
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Lesbian Cow
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suchmoon
JayJuanGee
achow101
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tmfp
BitcoinPenny
Royse777
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sandy-is-fine
SyGambler
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LoyceV
actmyname
The Pharmacist
LeGaulois
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phishead
TryNinja
bob123
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ekiller
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Coin_trader
polymerbit
Yatsan
HCP
finaleshot2016
xtraelv
crwth
webtricks
Ale88
duesoldi
bobita
Vispilio
Baofeng
imhoneer
krogothmanhattan
wolwoo
JollyGood
El duderino_
KTChampions
Coin-1
sheenshane
o_e_l_e_o
logfiles
joniboini
Maus0728
coinlocket$
asche
DdmrDdmr
cabalism13
Hellmouth42
Husna QA
Bthd
fillippone
abhiseshakana
madnessteat
lovesmayfamilis
DireWolfM14
Corrosive
TalkStar
efialtis
Ratimov
zasad@
Rikafip
69  Alternate cryptocurrencies / Announcements (Altcoins) / Re: [ANN][DASH] Dash (dash.org) | First Self-Funding Self-Governing Crypto Currency on: January 02, 2021, 09:41:24 PM
No less than the legendary admin of this site, Theymos, is joining the gang of haters.  

I just stumbled upon his post and merited it because it was substantive. I don't have strong feelings about Dash, though last I checked it was much worse than Monero technically.
70  Other / Politics & Society / Re: [POLL] Let’s say Trump did win the election... on: December 31, 2020, 09:34:04 PM
It depends very much on your definitions. First of all, "won" is legally defined by whatever happens on Jan 6. Even if all of the voting machines were hacked, that wouldn't invalidate the result of Jan 6. States are responsible for sending in the correct electoral votes, and then Congress is responsible for overseeing them on Jan 6; any mistakes, errors, or fraud involved in this process don't invalidate the final result. The US is based on the electoral college system, administered by each state individually, not a straight nationwide democratic vote. To some degree, it is and is intended to be a political process rather than a "mathematical" process. Some people say that Trump didn't really win in 2016 because he lost the popular vote. Some people will say that Trump did win in 2020 because of various theories about how the election was rigged. But these don't determine the result.

(Ultimately, even the electoral college result doesn't really determine who wins: the Constitution is not a magical scroll that will strike dead anyone who defies it; whoever is sitting in the oval office with the powers of the President of the United States on Jan 21 is the person who really won, regardless of how he got there.)

It also depends on your view of "best for the country". As an ancap, I think that it'd be best for people to lose faith in government, for US nationalism to degrade, and for the US to eventually fall apart. (Probably it'd fall apart into smaller governments, not into an ancap utopia as I'd prefer, but smaller governments are better than bigger governments.) Therefore, based on my understanding of what'd be best for the people of the US in the long-term, it's best to see chaos here. I'd love to see Trump somehow stay president (even though there's <0.1% chance of this happening): this power struggle itself would degrade the US's cohesion significantly, Trump is a chaos agent, Trump is less competent at wielding the office of the presidency, and those policies that he does successfully pursue tend to be a bit better than the average president anyway.

Now, if you're a US nationalist, then you should definitely want Biden to smoothly take power without much lingering doubt as to the fairness of the process. Even if it was generally agreed that Trump had won fair and square, I'd been thinking pre-election that even this could lead to states like California moving away from the US and toward secession. If Trump somehow remained president at this point, you'd almost certainly see widespread secessionist movements by blue states, if he wasn't outright assassinated first by one of the millions of people absolutely incensed by this event. A huge secessionist movement like this is something I'd like to see, but not something that US nationalists will want. Nationalists should also be worried, though, that Biden is just going to continue the status quo, which is totally unsustainable. Congress is too often deadlocked, passed bills are rare, sane passed bills are even more rare, the system has been 95% on autopilot for decades, and too much power is being concentrated into a bloated executive branch. It reminds me a lot of the late Republic period of ancient Rome. If things continue on their present course, we will eventually see either a dissolution of the Union or a restructuring toward dictatorship. If you want the US to stay together and not become a dictatorship, probably you should want some reforms and constitutional amendments to do things like:
 - Reducing federal power overall, giving more power to local authorities so that California can go one way while Georgia goes another on many issues.
 - Reducing the executive branch's relative power, such as by reinstating the legislative veto and allowing/encouraging the judicial branch to fight against the administrative state to a greater extent instead of deferring to them.
 - Reversing those reforms from the Progressive Era which increased direct democracy and weakened the political parties as institutions. In particular, primaries should be replaced by more exclusive caucuses again, and Senators should be appointed by state legislatures again.
 - I think it'd help if it was much less possible for presidents to get a majority of electoral votes, so that Congress had to tiebreak more often. Maybe this could be done by requiring that each state allocate electors proportionally rather than winner-take-all.
 - Many schools and (especially) universities inculcate anti-nationalist worldviews, which leads people to want to use national institutions for their own ends instead of wanting to preserve/defend national institutions. If you're a nationalist, then you'd want schools/universities to instead inculcate nationalist worldviews.
71  Economy / Auctions / Advertise on this forum - Round 329 on: December 30, 2020, 01:33:19 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).
72  Economy / Auctions / Re: Advertise on this forum - Round 328 on: December 30, 2020, 01:32:48 PM
Auction ended, final result:
Slots mBTC/Slot Person
3 10 DogecoinMachine
1 10 BoXXoB
5 5 lightlord
73  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Breaking: $600 Stimulus checks deal in the US on: December 30, 2020, 01:23:46 PM
So McConnell bundled the $2k with a section 230 appeal, which news outlets are saying is a poison pill that'll make the combined bill impossible to pass. Probably a smart move politically, since it allows republicans to vote "for" $2k, but it makes me uncomfortable that he's so willing to put section 230 on the table at all. A repeal of section 230, especially a flat repeal like what's in this bill, would be a huge blow to Internet freedom; bitcointalk.org would have to ban 95% of what goes on here, for example.
74  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Breaking: $600 Stimulus checks deal in the US on: December 29, 2020, 08:53:45 PM
Trump is going on the offensive against him though, telling Republicans that if they don’t pass this then they have a death wish. Seems like the GOP votes are there though, McConnell is just going to need more pressure to put this up to a vote.

Although I very strongly disagree with him on 80% of things, I've long respected McConnell's political savvy and stoicism. I think that he'll probably end up on top here, though Trump is definitely making the game more difficult for him, and reducing the chance of Republicans retaining the Senate. Two-thirds of the Senate would probably vote for this, and in theory they could bypass McConnell, but I think that there's too little time left, and McConnell is too good at wielding parliamentary procedure and whipping his members. All pending bills die Jan 3 as the 116th Congress ends, the Georgia election is Jan 5, and after that the politics don't matter as much, so McConnell will be more-or-less free to give the finger to Trump and then Biden for all of 2021, really.

Trump fucked up or went rouge, not sure which. I never looked at him as a staunch conservative anyways.

Trump has no ideology; he's just a selfish narcissist. Sometimes this causes him to do good things, like being more anti-war than most presidents (war is generally unpopular), but sometimes it causes him to do things that are bad for the Republican party and/or the country, like this. Trump would happily destroy the Republican party if it promoted his "brand", and in fact he's probably going to move in this direction over the next 4 years - not because he hates the Republican party or what they stand for, but just because he wants to be the center of attention, and turning the Republican party into a circus with himself as the ringleader suits that purpose
75  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Breaking: $600 Stimulus checks deal in the US on: December 29, 2020, 02:30:55 AM
This'll put Senate Republicans in a really awkward position. $2000 checks are wildly popular, and Trump will use this vote as a "loyalty test" going forward, so Republicans really want to vote for it. If Republicans cause it to be killed (ie. even if McConnell doesn't bring it to the floor), then this fact will also be used against the Republicans in the critical Georgia race. But most Republicans are strongly opposed to it ideologically, and they also have a large constituency who really cares about the debt and will never forgive a vote for something like this, even if the pro-Trump constituency is probably 2-3x bigger.

If it makes it to the Senate floor, then I think that it passes by a pretty wide margin; nearly all Democrats and maybe a third of Republicans will vote for it. Every single Republican will be politically damaged in the process, regardless of how they vote, since they'll always piss off a big chunk of their base. I think that McConnell will refuse to bring it to the floor, though even this will definitely have political consequences as well, especially if Trump goes after him hard.

About $450 billion of the recent $900 billion relief bill (with the $600 checks) was actually not new appropriations, but moved from unused funds in the CARES act. The increase of the check size will cost about $450 billion, so it's doubling the actual cost (or bringing the actual cost to the "face value" $900 billion number). People are throwing these "billion" numbers around willy-nilly, but this really is a massive increase in what is already a huge hole in the budget. The MMT people are right in that the US is not a household and this is not going to cause some sort of immediate problem, but in practice this extreme deficit spending is going to lead to the collapse of the dollar as the world reserve currency, and the faster the US spends, the sooner this day comes.

All of this government relief is bad for a number of reasons, but I'm kind of hoping that this increase passes. It's one of the better ways of delivering aid to those who need it, and it's good for the petrodollar system to get closer to its death sooner. Probably better for poor people to get money now than for the dollar system to last an extra few years, during which the US will just waste money on foreign wars and other similarly stupid/bad stuff.

I've already been thinking that we may be in for 3-5% inflation in the next couple of years due to all of the stimulus and Fed action, and this increase would be even more inflationary. Poor people are the most likely to spend rather than save/invest, and this is a very liquid and fast cash injection (unlike Fed actions, or tax cuts, or specific government programs). If this passes, maybe we'll even see levels of inflation which cause people to freak out a bit.

most of this money ended up going to companies directly in the baking sector

Sadly, the American people have proven to be powerless against the influence of the baking system, which has for years profited off the opium that is simple carbs. Is it any wonder that since the 2008 bailouts, obesity has increased by 25%, to the point where nearly a third of Americans are clinically obese? We need a return to Gold Standard 100% Whey, which can be used in all sorts of nutritious and delicious recipes.

(Sorry, you even edited out the typo before I replied, but I couldn't resist. Grin)
76  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Strange Nashville bombing on: December 28, 2020, 02:45:40 AM
The police has now officially announced that they think that Warner was behind it, and that he was in the RV when it exploded; the human remains found at the scene were DNA-matched to him. "Going out with a bang" was one of the first ideas that occurred to me, so it's not surprising, and I don't particularly doubt the official story so far. It was also the most boring possibility... Regardless of his motives, this is something that'll be forgotten in weeks. I'd guess that he was just suicidally depressed, without much larger motive, and he wanted to do something loud/flashy/"fun" as a suicide. Maybe part of him was hoping that law enforcement would come stop it and maybe save him before he exploded (if he didn't shoot himself beforehand - not known yet AFAIK).

It's tragic for him and for everyone harmed, though I'm glad that he remained altruistic enough to go out of his way to avoid killing people. Someone suicidal has many ways of easily killing a lot of people if they choose, as seen for example in the Las Vegas shooting. Even though it's tragic that Warner was willing to kill himself (for any reason), and it's tragic that he chose to multiply his own pain across many additional people, in some ways it gives me a little extra faith in humanity to see that even in his final position of absolute power - when there was absolutely nothing outside of his mind constraining his behavior, when he had fewer chains than most people ever have - he very actively chose mercy as opposed to wrath.
77  Other / Politics & Society / Strange Nashville bombing on: December 26, 2020, 02:28:21 AM
https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/531662-emergency-crews-respond-to-explosion-in-downtown-nashville

Normally I don't pay much attention to bombings, mass shootings, etc., but this one is really intriguing. The RV which exploded had loudspeakers on it which first apparently played loud gunshot noises to wake everyone up, and then it started playing a message warning people to evacuate. It also exploded in a non-residential area, at a time when the area would not have much traffic. Because of these measures, it seems that nobody was seriously injured, but the explosion did cause a massive amount of property damage, affecting several city blocks. The RV was near an AT&T facility, and damage to this facility caused widespread outages in Internet & phone service, though it's not completely clear that this facility was the target.

There are just so many interesting possibilities as to who could be behind this:

1. Initial reporting is that there may have been human remains found near the blast. This has not been confirmed. Maybe this was just a really flamboyant suicide?

2. This could could an attempt by a US enemy to sow division. Trump-aligned people will think that it was a leftist plot (maybe a false flag by the deep state, or an attack by an IRA-like left-terrorist group), while anti-Trump people will think that it was white-nationalist or QAnon domestic terrorists. I will be especially inclined to think that this is the case if we don't get much more info about who was behind the attack; doing an attack like this without leaving traces would be very difficult, so that points to a very sophisticated attacker, and leaving the issue perpetually hanging so that both sides can fight about it forever suits the motives of a foreign-nation-state attacker.

3. This could be the opening salvos of some terrorist group. By doing it this way, you can multiply the efficiency of all of your future attacks, since you can put loudspeakers on a vehicle very cheaply, and if only 1% of them actually explode, this is enough to cause widespread terror and disruption in potentially hundreds of cities. The whole setup of this attack was more sophisticated, well-planned, and constrained than I'd expect from the big terrorist groups of the past such as ISIS, which is interesting. If it was a terrorist group, then I'd expect them to eventually take credit for it and use it as a recruiting tool, though note that other terrorist groups will probably also falsely claim credit for the attack soon enough.

4. The whole point might've been to create a distraction for something else which hasn't been found yet. The damage to the AT&T facility took out Internet and phone service (including 911) and also made everyone look in one particular direction for a long time. This would be very convenient if you were infiltrating a facility 20 miles away at the same time, for example.

5. You never know, but:
    a) I tend to think that this was too sophisticated for the QAnon or anti-5G people.
    b) A bunch of big, terrifying attacks could conceivably be used by Trump as part of a coup to stay in power. But I don't think that Trump's inner circle is competent or far-looking enough to do this, I don't think that Trump is ambitious enough for it, I don't think that enough of the military/bureaucratic apparatus would support him in any case, and I don't think that something like this would stay secret for more than a few hours in Trump's notoriously leaky administration.
    c) While there have been a few true false flag attacks by the US government in the past, they're incredibly rare, and they're done secretly by small conspiracies within the intelligence community, not as a matter of policy. I won't completely rule out that this is some action by groups within US intelligence, but this isn't an idea I'd take seriously without seeing a lot more evidence. I'm also not sure what the motive would be. (Trump supporters might say that it's part of a plot to make Trump leave office, but that'd happen anyway... This line of thinking points back to the "promoting division by a foreign state" hypothesis.)



More info will presumably come up as time goes on; right now, everything is very preliminary. I'd find it pretty unbelievable if there is no surveillance camera footage of the RV being put into position, for example. Surveillance cameras are so ubiquitous nowadays that it should probably be possible to trace the path of the RV at least to the edge of the city, though it will take a lot of time to collect all of the footage. It's also not clear to me at this point whether the RV was right outside the AT&T facility, or whether it was half a block or more away -- different news outlets report different info here, and this info is important for determining whether the AT&T facility was specifically targeted.

What do you think? I look forward to hearing the insane theories of BADecker and others, along perhaps with some less insane theories.
78  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Breaking: $600 Stimulus checks deal in the US on: December 24, 2020, 11:28:25 PM
I have mixed feelings about the PPP loans. They were intended to keep employees on the payroll who otherwise would have been laid off. This meant that employers would not have to layoff, and subsequently rehire many of the same workers once the economy opened back up. It was intended to be a form of unemployment payments to workers via their employers. Unfortunately, many PPP loans were abused, and many businesses got them that didn't need them. It also gave political cover to local officials to impose lockdowns when they were really not necessary that early in the pandemic.

PPP, direct bailouts, etc. just prop up businesses that should fail. Theaters and airlines are probably going to be less popular going forward: they should have fewer employees, and they should probably cut their operations overall, at least temporarily. If they think that continuing to operate will be useful, then:
 - They should've been saving for these sorts of emergencies. If they haven't, then they're bad businessmen and they should be replaced in the economy by more competent businessmen.
 - They should be able to get private loans from someone who agrees that the business can survive. If there is no one willing to lend, then the company is too risky, and that means something.
 - Public companies should be able to issue more stock, to be bought up by people who think that the industry and company will recover. If there is nobody willing to invest, then the company is clearly unlikely to be profitable anytime in the next ~5 years at least, and it would be better for it to be liquidated and for its resources to go elsewhere.

But instead, airlines for example are getting a bailout on the condition that they re-hire their employees for a few more months, even though the airlines admit that they will furlough these employees again if they don't get even more stimulus, and they admit that they don't anticipate this situation changing for years. And airlines wasted tons of cash buying back stock over the past several years. So billions of dollars in resources will be tied up in businesses uselessly operating at above-needed capacity, while these businesses were recklessly not saving for this sort of eventuality. People will be paid to do a job that isn't particularly useful to the world right now, and may never become as useful as it once was.

If there was no government support whatsoever, then businesses run by idiots would go bankrupt, which is good. Businesses that have no long-term potential for actually contributing to the economy and therefore making a profit wouldn't be able to get loans or investment, and they'd go bankrupt, which is good. People who worked for these businesses would either go work for a more competent company which could use their labor more effectively, or they'd go do something else that is more useful in the current environment. For example, maybe airline employees could get training in administering vaccines, or providing childcare, or working at a shipping company, or doing some sort of virtual work: all in high demand now. Or they could start their own business: maybe some airline employees could come together and make a company specializing in private flights, which have been massively more in demand lately due to COVID. When people are unemployed, they go find useful (=profitable) things to do, and that's how the economy adapts and grows. Economic growth doesn't happen magically at an average 2% rate or whatever, as a fixed economic law, but due to the combined effects of millions of little bits of personal innovation/adaptation, which can be as simple as the decision of a furloughed theater employee (less useful) to become a grocery checker (more useful), for example.

This reorientation of the economy in the face of changing conditions is how you ensure long-term economic growth. Artificially propping up the status quo is less painful in the short-term, but it prevents the economy from adapting, weighing down growth in the long-term. This economic scarring can last decades. It also rewards idiot executives and investors (eg. airline executives and shareholders who promoted buybacks instead of investment/preparation), who are often higher-income. It's like learning that you have early-stage, treatable cancer, but just deciding to take ever-more-powerful painkillers rather than undergoing chemotherapy: it's more pleasant in the short-term, but long-term, it's a very bad idea.

Now, if you think that some sort of help needs to be provided to low-income people hurt by the economy collapsing around them, then do that directly. I can't find the quote right now, but I think Milton Friedman said something like, "If the problem is that poor people don't have enough money, then just give them money." If you're worried that airline employees, theater workers, etc. are going to be fired en masse, give $20k to every person in an affected industry with an income less than $100k, or something like that. Let the airlines and theaters fail, and let the workers go do something else more useful. The idea of helping workers by propping up failing businesses (ie. using the businesses as middlemen) just drags down long-term economic growth while helping the rich executives and investors who in part contributed to the problems.

If you're a Republican who voted for the past relief bills, then it would've made more sense from your ideological perspective to instead do something like a very large one-time check for people making under <some amount>, plus a very large increase in the earned income tax credit (for everyone, not just people with kids) which would last at least 3 years, and no business bailouts. The actual past relief bills were results of economic ignorance combined with various political realities such as the need to appease tons of special interests.
79  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Breaking: $600 Stimulus checks deal in the US on: December 22, 2020, 12:42:44 PM
The bill was 5000+ pages long, so I'm most worried that there was something nasty hidden in there which hasn't even been found yet by the public.

I'm opposed to all of this, though I think that direct aid is the best thing that the government can do if they're going to do anything. The bailouts keeping alive industries that should die or reform are the worst, like the massive airline bailouts in both relief bills, or even PPP. For the CARES act, it would've been better to just send everyone making below <middle class income> a check for about $8000 than have all of the various bailout programs. Let businesses that haven't saved and can't get private loans go bankrupt; let their employees find somewhere more economically-useful to work.

With the Fed creating unprecedented amounts of reserves and this unprecedented fiscal spending aimed largely at lower-income people, I could definitely see price inflation finally appear, which people aren't really expecting after so long a period of low inflation. And even more than price inflation, we'll probably see continued asset-price-inflation in all assets: stocks, real estate, BTC, etc.

For those living outside the US $600 dollars here don't cover living expenses for 2 weeks

It depends on the area. In some places, it might last a couple of months, especially if you're already using SNAP, housing assistance programs, etc.
80  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Trump contradicts Pompeo, claims Russian hack was coordinated by China on: December 20, 2020, 09:25:01 PM
You definitely shouldn't trust Trump, but it's sad to see a leftist like you implicitly trusting an ultra-neocon like Pompeo or "intelligence experts" just because they differ from Trump. Pompeo's the type who would jump at any opportunity to start a war, and he will resist any attempts at backing away from existing foreign intervention. He probably pushed for the assassination of Soleimani; he's one of the main people behind the dangerous, escalatory "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran; he downplayed the murder of Jamal Khashoggi; he's called COVID-19 a manmade Chinese virus; he supports torture; he supported the Iraq war; etc. People like Pompeo, Bolton, Bush, etc. are not good or trustworthy just because they sometimes oppose Trump, and in many ways they're actually worse. And "the intelligence community" is full of similar people, with similar histories of intentionally lying to the American people in order to further their ideology of escalation and intervention.

Figuring out who's behind a hack like this is difficult, and you can never be 100% sure. Maybe Trump is just pulling the China connection out of his ass based on nothing, but it also wouldn't be surprising if he wrote that tweet right after reading an intelligence report which said something like, "There are a lot of indications that it was Russia, but there's a 30% chance that it was an independent non-governmental attacker, and a 20% chance that it was China," and this gave Trump the idea to bring China into his election disinformation campaign. He's done this kind of thing several times before. When you're dealing with liars like Trump, Pompeo, and "leaks from the intelligence community", you can't trust that they're 100% lying, and you can't trust that they're 100% telling the truth.
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