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61  Other / Meta / Re: Slow accessing the forum on: February 09, 2020, 02:42:05 PM
It's a DDoS.
62  Other / Politics & Society / Re: [POLL] China Virus Source on: February 08, 2020, 06:16:03 PM
This outbreak checks a lot of boxes the CCP likes:

I don't think they'd do it to themselves intentionally. In Chinese culture, there's traditionally a belief that "luck" is actually sort of a skill, so the Chinese people are much more willing to blame the government for natural disasters and such. In other words, to the Chinese, this epidemic tends to come across as a direct failure of the government even before you consider any government response; it's not merely an uncontrollable event that the government might or might not rise to the challenge in handling, as we'd see it in the West. (In part, this is why the Chinese government likes to cover up these sorts of issues.)

Their program of social credit & surveillance is IMO their most effective path toward controlling their population.
63  Other / Politics & Society / Re: [POLL] China Virus Source on: February 07, 2020, 08:35:40 PM
AFAIK, the technology is more-or-less there for creating a custom virus. The real technological barrier seems to be that although you can modify parts of a virus, it's not clear what you'd want to change in order to get any particular result. There isn't one "incubation time" knob that you can tweak on the virus, for example. If you wanted to take SARS and increase the incubation time & spread rate, I think you'd have to use tens of thousands of human test subjects in order to conduct trial-and-error modifications of the virus. I wouldn't exactly put it past the Chinese government, but natural emergence seems more likely. If they can't keep the actual virus from spreading, how are they going to keep a big scientific program with large-scale, evil human testing under wraps?
64  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Can supplements be bad for you? on: February 05, 2020, 03:36:20 AM
and yes if a vegan wanted to eat enough iron, theyd need to eat a kg of veg a day. then drink a kg of water and then a few more kg of other vegetables to try getting the other minerals.

Veganism is pointless IMO, and vegans who don't do research on nutrition are probably at a higher risk of deficiencies. But except for B12, vegans can meet all of their DRIs it without eating a truckload of vegetables per day. For example, you need 677g of ground beef = 1558 calories to get 100% DV of iron, whereas you can get the same 100% DV with:
 - 2.8 cups of cooked spinach = 504g = 116 calories; OR
 - 2 cups of cooked soybeans = 350g = 603 calories; OR
 - 2.7 cups of cooked lentils = 541g = 617 calories; etc.
A vegan is probably going to be eating a lot of that sort of stuff anyway just to get enough calories.
65  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Can supplements be bad for you? on: February 04, 2020, 09:28:52 PM
If you eat a healthy and varied (meat+fruit+vegetables+grains) diet, not getting too many of your calories from sugar or refined grains, then your diet is likely not to be so deficient in anything as to cause serious problems. If you track your diet, then you might think at first that you're deficient in a lot of micronutrients, but this is often just because your source of nutrition info doesn't have all of the micronutrient data for your foods. You have to use the USDA Standard Reference database for everything you eat in a day in order to get a complete picture. This is pretty difficult, but it's worthwhile to do for a few days to get some idea of your nutrient intake. (On FoodData Central, uncheck "branded" on the left after searching. Use closest approximations for things not in the Database. Note that many zero-calorie things like tap water, tea, coffee, and table salt contribute nutrients to your diet.)

Most people will be under the DRI in a few areas -- exactly which depending on diet --, though this won't necessarily ever lead to noticeable health issues. I'd guess that 90% of people are below the DRI on potassium, omega-3, choline, and fiber. None of these things tend to be in multivitamins in appreciable quantities, though...

Vegans must supplement B12, which is almost impossible to get enough of from vegan sources. In the US, milk is becoming less popular in favor of plant milks, and this could lead to calcium deficiency in some cases. Even though iodine is added to table salt, iodized salt is not used in packaged food, it's not that common in food otherwise, and I suspect that low-level iodine deficiency may be common.

I'm skeptical of supplements that contain a bunch of random herbs. Maybe <herb X> has some tenuous evidence for doing something good when consumed as an herbal tea every now and then, but who knows what taking some lowest-cost "filler" form of it daily for months/years will do...
66  Other / Politics & Society / Re: 2020 U.S. Presidential Election on: February 04, 2020, 02:04:34 PM
LOL, the Dems are getting down to work screwing Bernie early in the process, I see! I was disappointed not to see the results last night, and a bit shocked not to see them even this morning, but the fallout from this chaos will be even more entertaining.
67  Other / Meta / Re: DT update log on: February 03, 2020, 07:36:55 PM
This month 126 users were eligible.

Old:
Code:
HostFat
gmaxwell
TECSHARE
CanaryInTheMine
SebastianJu
malevolent
yxt
qwk
Vod
mprep
Dabs
Foxpup
philipma1957
babo
Cyrus
Flying Hellfish
monkeynuts
peloso
ibminer
Mitchell
Micio
vizique
Ticked
Timelord2067
yogg
dbshck
TheNewAnon135246
hybridsole
hilariousandco
arulbero
Avirunes
mindrust
Lesbian Cow
willi9974
cryptodevil
suchmoon
JayJuanGee
Rmcdermott927
achow101
teeGUMES
owlcatz
nutildah
dazedfool
sapta
BitcoinPenny
yahoo62278
LFC_Bitcoin
ezeminer
klarki
LoyceV
actmyname
WhiteManWhite
LeGaulois
TryNinja
bob123
eddie13
johhnyUA
kzv
ekiller
TheFuzzStone
Jet Cash
bL4nkcode
Lafu
Gunthar
finaleshot2016
crwth
Kryptowerk
otto_diesel
bobita
Vispilio
krogothmanhattan
wolwoo
JollyGood
Goran_
CryptopreneurBrainboss
El duderino_
mosprognoz
bavicrypto
Veleor
sheenshane
o_e_l_e_o
iasenko
pandukelana2712
tvplus006
coinlocket$
dkbit98
mole0815
DdmrDdmr
anonymousminer
Alex_Sr
morvillz7z
fillippone
taikuri13
abhiseshakana
madnessteat
lovesmayfamilis
DireWolfM14
TalkStar
1miau
Ratimov

New:
Code:
theymos
gmaxwell
TECSHARE
OgNasty
CanaryInTheMine
yxt
qwk
Vod
Anduck
fronti
mprep
Foxpup
philipma1957
babo
Cyrus
Flying Hellfish
monkeynuts
peloso
Welsh
ibminer
TMAN
Mitchell
Timelord2067
jeremypwr
yogg
dbshck
hybridsole
greenplastic
arulbero
Avirunes
mindrust
Lesbian Cow
willi9974
suchmoon
Yaremi
achow101
owlcatz
nutildah
dazedfool
minerjones
sapta
tmfp
BitcoinPenny
yahoo62278
Royse777
zazarb
LFC_Bitcoin
SyGambler
klarki
LoyceV
actmyname
The Pharmacist
asu
TryNinja
johhnyUA
kzv
ekiller
TheFuzzStone
Jet Cash
bL4nkcode
Lafu
Yatsan
finaleshot2016
xtraelv
crwth
Kryptowerk
bobita
Vispilio
krogothmanhattan
JollyGood
roycilik
CryptopreneurBrainboss
KTChampions
Smartprofit
Coin-1
Veleor
sheenshane
o_e_l_e_o
3meek
iasenko
gospodin
coinlocket$
dkbit98
mole0815
witcher_sense
asche
cabalism13
anonymousminer
morvillz7z
fillippone
taikuri13
abhiseshakana
madnessteat
lovesmayfamilis
DireWolfM14
TalkStar
1miau
DIKUL
Ratimov
zasad@
68  Other / Politics & Society / Re: 2020 U.S. Presidential Election on: February 02, 2020, 08:41:27 PM
I think that Bernie has a very good chance of winning vs Trump if he's the nominee. Current polling shows him beating Trump in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and North Carolina. You definitely can't rely on polls at this stage, since many people polled are replacing "Biden" or "Bernie" with just "not Trump" in their minds right now, and once the election actually gets under way, they'll be faced with actually voting for a particular candidate. But I think that Sanders has a good chance of speaking to working-class voters in these areas. These voters are not all that ideologically opposed to socialism, and they'd find many of Sanders' economic policies attractive. Effective attacks against Sanders for these voters would focus more on immigration, gun rights, and general social issues (ie. if they feel like Sanders projects an "it's not OK to be a straight white male" vibe, that won't go down well). I'm not sure that Trump will be able to attack Sanders well enough to overcome the appeal of some of the economic issues, especially if the economy starts to falter before then (which IMO is not unlikely). And while there are a lot of moderate Democrats who despise Sanders (ie. people who love Bloomberg and who now think of Bush's presidency longingly), are they actually going to swing any states? They probably won't even vote for Trump: they'll just stay home.

This map starts with the Cook Political Report ratings, and then I assigned three of the toss-ups (NC, AZ, FL) to Trump, and the remaining two toss-ups of WI and PA I assigned to Sanders, which is where he polls the best vs Trump currently and where I think he has the best chance of making his message resonate. That puts him over the top.

The Cook ratings probably assume a more moderate Democrat, but will inserting Bernie actually change anything? Is that really going to help Trump win Nevada or Michigan, for example? I doubt it. If anything it might allow Sanders to pick off some of the states which Cook rates as Republican, like maybe OH.

With Biden, I think that Trump wins all 5 Cook toss-ups and therefore the election.

All that being said, Democratic establishment is going to try every trick in the book to stop Bernie from being the nominee. It'll be sort of like Trump's nomination, but the Democratic party's establishment is more powerful than the Republican party's establishment, Bernie himself seems less able to push back against this establishment, and of course there are also many other differing factors, so Bernie could definitely be defeated. At this point I'd say that there's less than a 50% chance of Bernie being the nominee.
69  Economy / Auctions / Advertise on this forum - Round 299 on: January 31, 2020, 01:52:32 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 11 days.
- Sometimes ads might be up for longer, but hopefully no longer than 12 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 BTC per slot. 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 @ 0.5 BTC and this is the highest bid, then he'll get all 9 slots. If the two highest bids are 9 slots @ 0.4 BTC and 1 slot @ 0.5 BTC, then the first person will get 8 slots and the second person will get 1 slot.

The notation "2 @ 0.5" means 2 slots for 0.5 BTC each. Not 2 slots for 0.5 BTC 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 @ 0.1 and 1 @ 0.5".
- All bid prices must be evenly divisible by 0.01.
- The bidding starts at 0.01.
- 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. 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  BTC/Slot  Person
    6      0.20       A
    1      0.16       B
    1      0.08       C
    1      0.08       D

Becomes:
Slots  BTC/Slot  Person
    6      0.10       A [step 4: reduced to 0.09+0.01=0.10]
    1      0.09       B [step 3: reduced to 0.08+0.01=0.09]
    1      0.08       C [step 2: same as the next-lowest, unchanged]
    1      0.08       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).
70  Economy / Auctions / Re: Advertise on this forum - Round 298 on: January 31, 2020, 01:44:43 PM
1 @ 0.07

Sorry, there are too many legitimate-looking complaints regarding Roobet, so I won't accept your bids.

Auction ended, final result:
Slots BTC/Slot Person
6 0.08 sportsbet.io
3 0.07 Stunna
71  Other / Meta / Re: theymos could you sticky your intent on the reputation board on: January 30, 2020, 09:13:15 PM
LoyceV's guide seems reasonable.

The system is for handling trade risk, not for flagging people for good/bad posts/personalities/ideas.

In part, the idea of the system is to organically build up & enforce a community consensus on appropriate trading behavior. However, those parts of the consensus which have less agreement should be more difficult to apply than those parts which have widespread agreement, and also subject to change. Everyone agrees that if Alice promises Bob 1 BTC for $8000 and doesn't pay it, that warrants flags & ratings, and it should be very easy to create these flags and ratings. If Alice promotes something without disclosing that she was paid to do so, and the thing later turns out to be a scam, then 65% of the community will call this highly shady behavior, and 35% will call it not a contractual violation and therefore more-or-less fine; it may be possible to make flags and/or ratings stick, but the people doing so should feel as though they are on less solid ground, and maybe the community consensus on this will shift against them (depending on the exact facts of the case, politicking by interested parties, etc.). I refuse to set down a single "correct" philosophy on ethical behavior, since this would permanently divide & diminish the community, and I am not such a wise philosopher that I feel the moral authority to do so.

For ratings and type-1 flags, proactive scam-hunting is good! But as explained above, if you're acting near the edge of community consensus, it should be more difficult. If the community is not overwhelmingly behind you on your scam hunting, then it's probably going to end up creating more drama, division, paranoia, and tribalism than the possible scam-avoidance benefit is worth.

Ratings

 - Leave positive ratings if you actively think that trading with this person is safer than with a random person.
 - Leave negative ratings if you actively think that trading with the person is less safe than with a random person.
 - Unstable behavior could very occasionally be an acceptable reason for leaving negative trust, but if it looks like you're leaving negative trust due to personal disagreements, then that's inappropriate. Ratings are not for popularity contests, virtue signalling, punishing people for your idea of wrongthink, etc.
 - Post-flags, ratings have less impact. It's only an orange number. Some amount of "leave ratings first, ask questions later" may be OK. For example, if you thought that YoBit was a serious ongoing scam, the promotion of which was extremely problematic, then it'd be a sane use of the system to immediately leave negative trust for everyone wearing a YoBit signature. (I don't necessarily endorse this viewpoint or this action: various parts of the issue are highly subjective. But while I wouldn't blame people for excluding someone who did this, I wouldn't call it an abuse of the system.)
 - Exercise a lot of forgiveness. People shouldn't be "permanently branded" as a result of small mistakes from which we've all moved past. Oftentimes, people get a rating due to unknowingly acting a bit outside of the community's consensus on appropriate behavior, and such ratings may indeed be appropriate. But if they correct the problem and don't seem likely to do it again, remove the rating or replace it with a neutral. Even if someone refuses to agree with the community consensus (ie. they refuse to back down philosophically), if they're willing to refrain from the behavior, their philosophical difference should not be used to justify a rating. For example, in the YoBit mass-ratings example above, ratings should be immediately removed after the person removes the signature, even if they maintain and continue to argue that they didn't do anything wrong. If someone agrees to "follow 'the law' without agreeing to it", that should be enough.
 
Flags

 - Use flags only for very serious and clear-cut things. They're an expression of ostracizing someone from the community due to serious, provable misconduct or really obvious red flags.
 - Use type-1 flags when the message which will be shown to newbies/guests is appropriate: "the creator of this topic displays some red flags which make them high-risk. [...] you should proceed with extreme caution."
 - Use type-2 and type-3 flags only if the person is absolutely guilty of contractual violations. Imagine a legal system in which there is no law but contract law, and consider if this person would owe damages.

Trust lists

 - If you find someone who has sent accurate trust actions and has no inaccurate/inappropriate trust actions, add them to your trust list. Inclusion in trust lists is a more a mark of useful contributions than your trust in them, though at least a little trust is necessary.
 - If you think that someone is not using the trust system appropriately, or if you disagree with some of their subjective determinations, exclude them from your trust list. If bad outcomes happen in DT, this is partly the fault/responsibility of: the bad actors themselves; DT1 who include the bad-actors; DT1 who don't exclude the bad-actors; DT1 who include or don't exclude failing DT1; anyone else who includes failing DT1. While it's best to spend some time trying to fix things at the lower levels before escalating it, it's reasonable to complain to any of those people, as I did regarding Lauda that one time, for example. (Of course, the system itself is probably also imperfect, and that's on me.)
72  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Ethical Standards: Rich People & Large Companies Donating to Political Parties on: January 28, 2020, 07:58:20 PM
If "democracy is just inherently not a good way for decisions to be made" then what system would be ideal to replace it? One thing to consider is that democracy in itself has different meanings to different people in different countries so that in itself is not a one-system-fits-all issue for those that proclaim it.

I'm an anarcho-capitalist, so I believe that if you look at any particular function of government (eg. building roads, providing defense, etc.), then a voluntary, market-based solution is both possible and better than what a state can do. See The Machinery of Freedom (free PDF book). If you replace pieces of government with market solutions or eliminate pieces of government entirely (eg. road-building could be replaced, while drug laws could be eliminated), then you reduce the area that democracy (or any alternative system) can make poor decisions on, and this is good progress. It's better for democracy to impact 10% of the economy than 50% of the economy. Once you completely reach anarcho-capitalism, then democracy's ability to cause harm is eliminated. I want to defeat politics: democracy, monarchy, whatever.

Since we're probably not going to see an anarcho-capitalist society anytime soon (though maybe someday), the question remains of how best to structure the government that exists, even if we want to move toward reducing its role. For this I think that the Framers of the US constitution had the right idea: democracy, aristocracy, and monarchy all have advantages and disadvantages, and it's a good idea to try to create a system which combines them, even though the result will still make a lot of bad decisions. (Also see my old thread on the concept Anacyclosis, which influenced the Framers.) One of the most harmful developments over the past ~100 years IMO has been the idea that democracy=morality. Democracy is a useful tool in a toolkit for designing a good system, but it shouldn't be seen as an end unto itself. The average person is easily-manipulated, not properly incentivized to vote properly, uninformed, and easily persuaded into supporting immoral policies. So in the US I think it'd be helpful to undo a lot stuff from the Progressive Era, such as the 17th amendment and party primary elections.
73  Other / Politics & Society / Re: 2020 Democrats on: January 27, 2020, 09:53:17 PM
In Iowa, voters who support candidates who have under 15% have to go support someone else (or leave). If I combine the latest RCP average with the latest Emerson second-choice data for Iowa and treat it sort of like ranked-choice voting, that implies this result:

Round 1
Sanders 26.7%
Biden 23.5%
Buttigieg 18.2%
Warren 14.4%
Klobuchar 9.1%
Yang 3.2%
Steyer 3.0%
Gabbard 1.9%

Round 2
Sanders 27.3%
Biden 23.9%
Buttigieg 18.6%
Warren 14.8%
Klobuchar 9.2%
Yang 3.2%
Steyer 3.0%

Round 3
Sanders 29.0%
Biden 24.6%
Buttigieg 18.7%
Warren 15.0%
Klobuchar 9.5%
Yang 3.2%

Round 4
Sanders 30.6%
Biden 25.1%
Buttigieg 19.1%
Warren 15.2%
Klobuchar 10.0%

Round 5
Sanders 32.0%
Biden 29.2%
Buttigieg 22.2%
Warren 16.6%

(It doesn't actually work in rounds like this, and it's done at a per-district level, so in some districts even Sanders or Biden will be eliminated due to the 15% threshold. The above is just a way of getting a very rough estimate.)

It's looking good for Sanders in Iowa, though with the sheer confusion of the caucus process, Biden's more experienced supporters and caucus managers might push him over the top. If Sanders wins both Iowa and New Hampshire, his overall victory looks much more likely, and he'll at least go far. A contested convention is also very possible in that case, where Sanders would have a huge disadvantage due to superdelegates (who still get to vote if there is no majority). Can you imagine the chaos if Sanders wins a plurality of the delegates but loses the nomination?

My preferred outcomes are, in order:
 1. Sanders wins and loses to Trump.
 2. Sanders wins and wins against Trump.
 3. Sanders has the nomination stolen from him at the convention, and the Democrats implode.
 4. Biden wins and loses to Trump.

Those are all decent* outcomes IMO, and it's looking likely that one of them will happen. I can't wait to see the Iowa results.

* By decent I mean about as best as could be hoped for in today's world. Trump is a warmonger, Sanders would seek to utterly strangle the economy, and both are authoritarians.
74  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Ethical Standards: Rich People & Large Companies Donating to Political Parties on: January 26, 2020, 07:22:41 PM
If you strictly limit campaign financing, then it just supports different types of influence. If powerful interests want to influence government, they're going to do it no matter what. (It's not as if they're going to break laws very often: they'll just find alternative ways to exert influence.)

If for example every campaign was required to be 100% publicly financed, then it would be difficult for anyone to stand out, and this would greatly benefit the established parties and incumbents, even in >2-party systems. Since most voters wouldn't know much about any of the candidates, or wouldn't be able to distinguish between them, they would usually just vote for their favorite party. Upsets would occasionally happen, but not frequently enough to make a difference. Powerful interests would move more toward cozying up to the parties themselves. For example, a CEO might be active within the Republican party, and when a Republican president needs unemployment to go down, he'd ask the CEO to avoid layoffs; subsequently, there'd be an implicit expectation that someone in the Republican party would repay this in terms of more favorable policies in the future. Or a billionaire under investigation for something or other while a Democratic president is in office would "just happen" to donate $50 million each to Planned Parenthood and the Brady Campaign (ie. ideologically Democrat organizations). This kind of thing happens a lot even now, and happened even more in the past when campaign financing laws were more strict. The boost to incumbency and party strength might actually make influence more streamlined, since politicians would have to worry less about being primaried, and would therefore have to care less about satisfying their base. Though honestly I don't think that campaign finance laws have that much effect on anything: powerful interests will find ways to influence things regardless.

Democracy is just inherently not a good way for decisions to be made. In the specific case of government, where citizenship is more-or-less involuntary, maybe democracy is on average better than very top-down/entrenched political systems. The US Framers' original intention (now mostly lost) of having three separate power bases -- president=monarchy, Senate/Supreme-Court=aristocracy, and House=democracy -- was probably also a good idea to improve things a bit. But the real solution is to limit the role of government as much as possible so that its inevitably terrible & corrupt decisions don't have as much impact.

It'd be interesting if you could pay $1000/vote to the Treasury in order to get additional votes, without limit. Obviously profit-motivated actors are only going to do this if they can extract more value from their votes than they're paying, but this already happens now with PACs, lobbying, etc. Even before Citizens United, you had groups such as the sugar lobby which spend money to get policies enacted which clearly help them at everyone else's expense (in the case of the sugar lobby, tariffs and price fixing). Paying for votes directly would at least have the money spent to achieve these bad policies going somewhere a bit more useful than toward lobbyists and political ads. Instead of paying for extra votes via the Treasury, you could also allow people to sell their votes, and this'd end up as almost a UBI-type welfare system!

(That isn't really a serious proposal, since I think it'd probably be worse than the status quo, though it would be interesting.)
75  Economy / Auctions / Advertise on this forum - Round 298 on: January 21, 2020, 05:51:58 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 11 days.
- Sometimes ads might be up for longer, but hopefully no longer than 12 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 BTC per slot. 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 @ 0.5 BTC and this is the highest bid, then he'll get all 9 slots. If the two highest bids are 9 slots @ 0.4 BTC and 1 slot @ 0.5 BTC, then the first person will get 8 slots and the second person will get 1 slot.

The notation "2 @ 0.5" means 2 slots for 0.5 BTC each. Not 2 slots for 0.5 BTC 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 @ 0.1 and 1 @ 0.5".
- All bid prices must be evenly divisible by 0.01.
- The bidding starts at 0.01.
- 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. 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  BTC/Slot  Person
    6      0.20       A
    1      0.16       B
    1      0.08       C
    1      0.08       D

Becomes:
Slots  BTC/Slot  Person
    6      0.10       A [step 4: reduced to 0.09+0.01=0.10]
    1      0.09       B [step 3: reduced to 0.08+0.01=0.09]
    1      0.08       C [step 2: same as the next-lowest, unchanged]
    1      0.08       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).
76  Economy / Auctions / Re: Advertise on this forum - Round 297 on: January 21, 2020, 05:36:10 PM
Auction ended, final result:
Slots BTC/Slot Person
2 0.07 dai100905
3 0.07 LouiseZ
1 0.07 Exolix
3 0.07 sportsbet.io
77  Other / Meta / Re: Facing a problem with chrome mobile browser during giving feedback. on: January 19, 2020, 07:57:38 PM
I have no idea what would cause it, then. If someone figures out some basically-sane change I could make which fixes it, let me know.
78  Other / Meta / Re: Facing a problem with chrome mobile browser during giving feedback. on: January 19, 2020, 07:46:12 PM
I just fixed a stray </div> on some Trust pages which I suppose might've been confusing Chrome. Is it fixed now?
79  Other / Meta / Re: Are table borders a thing and if not can they be? on: January 19, 2020, 07:24:34 PM
It wouldn't be that difficult to add to the bbcode parser, but it might be a good opportunity to also fix the first-column bug. Maybe:
 - A border attribute would be added to the [table] tag. If you have it set, even to 0, then the first-column bug is fixed for your table (by adding/removing a CSS class)
 - Existing tables without a border specified would function exactly the same as now, for backwards-compatibility.

I'll do it if someone comes up with the ideal HTML+CSS which the table tag should produce, for all three cases: [table], [table border=0], and [table border=1]. You can't remove that problematic CSS rule without addressing the fact that it's actually supposed to do something (not sure off-hand what...), and that the behavior of old [table] tags need to remain identical for backward-compatibility. So you should either work around that CSS rule or figure out exactly what it's supposed to do and fix it to be more selective while also maintaining the old behavior on old [table]s.
80  Other / Politics & Society / Shifting party coalitions on: January 13, 2020, 03:04:29 PM
After the major election upsets since ~2015, the recent landslide Conservative victory in the UK has made me think that the coalitions making up the two political parties in the US and UK (and maybe elsewhere) are in the process of major shifts. In a first-past-the-post system like in the UK or US, there are always going to be two political parties. The parties don't really believe in anything at their core, and they change over time, even if you might be able to briefly describe some sort of overall philosophy right now. In reality, each party is just trying to form minimal coalitions between different philosophical/interest groups such that they can win a majority in the election.

Traditionally, the US coalitions have been:
  • Republicans
    • Devout Christians: Often this group believes in imposing their religious views on others, though not all do. They're all very concerned with stopping the government from interfering whatsoever with their religious practices. This group pushes the Republicans toward pro-life, pro-homeschooling, etc.
    • Neocons: This group believes basically in taking over the world. They're responsible for the Iraq War, etc.
    • Business, especially smaller businesses: They support low taxes, favorable (but not necessarily low) regulations, expansion of the military industrial complex, etc.
    • Most libertarians: They support low tax, low regulations, gun rights, etc.
  • Democrats
    • Rainbow coalition: This includes every minority group: racial, religious, sexual orientation, etc. The idea is to offer little giveaways to every minority separately, protect all of them from discrimination, etc.
    • Unions
    • Moderate central planners: I'm thinking here of the type of people who say, "This is a big problem in our country. Clearly, the government should do something to fix it." They're responsible for a lot of what exists now, such as the various welfare systems. Traditionally there was some overlap here with the Republicans, though the Democrats have increasingly dominated this group.
    • Redistributionists: This group more-or-less believes in equality of outcome. They tend to believe that billionares fundamentally shouldn't exist, for example.
(I'm most familiar with US politics, but it seems that the UK parties are fairly similar in composition nowadays.)

In the last decade, however, there have been major shifts in this traditional coalition structure:
  • Most notably, the political power of unions and labor in general have been substantially weakened. Union membership is at an all-time low, for example. Due to this, the Democrats have largely lost the white working class: this demographic doesn't really fit into the Democratic coalition anymore, and their interests are in some ways at odds with other groups within the Democratic coalition. This I think is the main reason for the victories of Trump and Johnson.
  • Whereas rich people previously tended to support low taxes and nationalism, "the 1%" is increasingly adopting a mindset which is basically globalism/neoliberalism (which includes anti-nationalism) combined with a profound lack of faith in capitalism. They tend to favor social engineering and central planning, such as the "green new deal", banning all sorts of things, expanding mandatory education, etc. They believe that they should guide society toward some great future, and the sacrifices of a few are worth the utilitarian gains which they perceive in the long run. See Mike Bloomberg's platform for a perfect example of this group's platform. This group includes billionaires and the large companies which they control, but also a large number of upper-/upper-middle-class people. It may be becoming an increasingly impactful demographic, as might be visible in the suburban (ie. richer) areas which flipped to the Democrats in 2018, but also just because companies like Facebook have so much influence.
  • Religiosity is at an all-time low
  • After the Iraq war, the neocons have been largely discredited. Even if they currently still have quite a bit of influence, I think that they're shrinking.

Also, some points of possible instability:
  • I think that the rainbow coalition is fundamentally an unstable concept, since it's totally lacking in philosophy. Will large numbers of people continue to vote based near-totally on their membership in some sort of identity? I feel like the concept of "identity" may be in the process of jumping the shark, what with how widespread and almost cliché it is now. Could be wrong, though.
  • Psychological research has shown that most people don't care about inequality unless it's right in their face. Most people simply can't be made to get too worked up about some billionaire somewhere buying their 10th yacht while they're working a dead-end 9-to-5, no matter how unfair it seems. People focus on their day-to-day lives and their peers, not people far away. So I think that the radical redistributionist angle is a dead end politically, even if some welfare programs may be popular.

It seems to me that both parties are currently misunderstanding the shifting coalitions. Democrats are either stuck in the past with labor-oriented policies, or are radical redistributionists, neither of which have a future IMO. Republicans meanwhile are fear-mongering against "socialism", which isn't the policy which actually won the Democrats the House in 2018, and it isn't an effective message in any case. Neither side realizes that the biggest shift is rich people moving Democrat and non-rich people with no "identity" moving Republican.

Trump won by snatching up the white working class, but it's not clear to me that he actually won them over long-term. Deregulation and tax cuts are pretty abstract things, and are probably not politically meaningful. Trump is surrounded by traditional Republicans, and he has governed more-or-less like a traditional Republican. Moreover, I think that the whole idea of a "working class" is a dying concept: labor/unions will get weaker and weaker as a political force until neither side even wants it.

The parties won't continue down failing paths indefinitely, so it's interesting to think about how the coalitions will stabilize in the future. Maybe the Democratic party will shift to cater much more toward the 1% central planners. So they'll support a lot of government, but it'll all be structured in such a way that billionaires and S&P 500 companies still do quite well. Progressives will largely not be happy. In other words, Mike Bloomberg might be a look at the Democratic party's future. While it's really an awful outcome IMO, I think that this may politically be a viable coalition.

If the above Democratic shift happened and ended up being successful, the Republican party in response might support some more economically-left policies, and might become more nationalistic and protectionist. Trump has adopted some rhetoric in this direction, though policy changes have been minor. Maybe the Republicans would adjust their message and policies to try to pick off specific parts of the Democrats' rainbow coalition. Since the Democrats would become more authoritarian, maybe the Republican party would become more libertarian in some ways.

What do you think?
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