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721  Other / Politics & Society / Re: A radical left-right compromise US budget on: April 29, 2019, 07:04:29 PM
Damn, I guess I shouldn't enter the Democratic primary on this platform. And I was getting all ready for the debates...

If you tax $18 trillion worth of property at 10% and 14.3 trillion worth of sales at the same percentage rate

It's 10% property tax and 55% sales tax.

Everybody needs a place a place to live, or to do business.  The property owners are just going to pass on the costs to their tenants.  Regardless of whether you own the property, you'll be paying the tax.

Correct, which is why it's included in the real-UBI calculation. It's a wealth tax because someone just sitting around doing nothing on his property still has to pay tax, which is rather abhorrent to me, but it's still a lesser evil compared to income tax IMO.

The annual premiums for an unsubsidized health insurance plan is between $4700 and $12,800 per year (for a single person), depending on, primarily the deductible. At the low end, someone should expect to pay about a total of $5,000 in healthcare costs per year, per person. This would include the cost of health insurance and a small amount of out of pocket expenses. This amount would be for a generally healthy person.

Health care costs are too high due to over-regulation. That should be fixed separately.

The annual food stamp benefit is around $2,000 per person (based on a 3 person household).

The EITC is ~$3,500 with one child, or about $1,175 (rounded up to $2,000/year) per person assuming two parents and one child. It is ~$5,800 with two children, or $1,450/person with two parents. Budget assumptions need to be at least 1 child/person, otherwise the population would shrink, which would cause other budget problems.

The above three programs alone are valued at approximately $9,000 per year, and it is not uncommon for a working family to be eligible for all three of the above programs.

For someone that is not working, or only earning a very little amount, the additional government benefits will far exceed the UBI amount. Most states pay between $300 and $500/week in unemployment benefits. Assuming a $400/week benefit per working adult, or $200/week/person, (based on two working adults and two children) works out to $10,400/year. Someone on SSDI will receive ~$14,800 per year, or ~$7,400/person (based on two working adults and two children).

My UBI is per citizen, including children. So a family of four would get $49,960/year, blowing most existing welfare programs out of the water. I think that the only people who could get less would be some disabled/unhealthy people.

But if you want to increase it more, you can. Here are some example numbers for different UBI amounts:
Pre-tax-adjustment UBIPost-tax-adjustment UBITotal UBI costProperty taxSales tax

(Although over-100% salex tax might sound ridiculous, in practice today's taxes are probably above 100% if you took all of the payroll, corporate, income, gax, etc. tax and concentrated them into the point of sale.)

The problem with UBI when the majority of a population can work is those on the low end of the income spectrum will effectively be subsidizing those who are "rich". The purpose of welfare programs is to help the needy when they are most vulnerable, not to give money to everyone, regardless of need.

When rich people get the UBI, you can think of it as sort of progressive tax, like how even if you make $1 million in a year, you still pay 0% income tax on the first dollar.

For the sake of argument, and not based on any data, let's say that people own 35% of their yearly income in base-land-value (or this is represented in increased rent/other prices), and that they spend yearly amounts wildly-guessed below. Then you get:
IncomeSpending on goodsTotal taxEffective income tax rate
112000-14,008 -

You can see that it approximates a progressive income tax with a Friedman-style negative income tax. The progressiveness breaks down a bit at the truly high end (beyond what anyone seriously claims on their income taxes...), but this could perhaps be addressed by increasing the property tax overall and/or making it progressive at the very high end.

The biggest owner of land is the federal government, which cannot raise money by taxing itself. I haven't looked into your figures closely, but I suspect the claimed revenue from a property tax is overstated.

The Net Present Value of any asset is the current value (discounted value) of all future cash flows the asset will generate. If an asset will incur additional costs it did not previously incur, then its value will decline, all else being equal. Imposing a tax on real property will cause its value to decline, so you would need to either impose a higher tax rate, or budget for less revenue.

Government land isn't included. It's from that Federal Reserve document using figures from tables B.101, B.103, and B.104.

The average local property tax is 1.2%, and that includes improvements as well as base land value. IMO 10% wouldn't destroy the economy. (I'd actually originally wanted to do exclusively property tax, but it ended up not being enough revenue at reasonable tax rates, so I added sales tax. If it was like a 50% tax on total real-estate value, then I agree that land values would drop catastrophically.)

I didn't include land improvements because I think that assessments of this are rather invasive, and it also discourages economic development. If you do include improvements, then it's a total of $51.8 trillion.
722  Economy / Auctions / Advertise on this forum - Round 276 on: April 29, 2019, 03:00:49 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.

Ads are allowed to contain any non-annoying HTML/CSS style. No images, JavaScript, or animation. Ads must appear 3 or fewer lines tall in my browser (Firefox, 900px wide). Ad text may not contain lies, misrepresentation, or inappropriate language. Ads may not link directly to any NSFW page. No ICOs[1], banks, funds, or anything else 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.

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, and only for people using the default theme.


- Your ads are guaranteed to be up for at least 7 days.
- I usually try to keep ads up for no more than 8 or 9 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.


Exact historical impression counts per slot:

Info about the current ad slots:

Ad blocking

Hero/Legendary members, Donators, VIPs, and moderators have the ability to disable ads. I don't expect many people to use this option. These people don't increase the impression stats for your ads.

I try to bypass Adblock Plus filters as much as possible, though this is not guaranteed. It is difficult or impossible for ABP filters to block the ad space itself without blocking posts. However, filters can match against the URLs in your links, your CSS classes and style attributes, and the HTML structure of your ads.

To prevent matches against URLs: I have some JavaScript which fixes links blocked by ABP. You must tell me if you want this for your ads. When someone with ABP and JavaScript enabled views your ads, your links are changed to a special randomized URL which redirects to your site when visited. People without ABP are unaffected, even if they don't have JavaScript enabled. The downsides are:
- ABP users will see the redirection link when they hover over the link, even if they disable ABP for the forum.
- Getting referral stats might become even more difficult.
- Some users might get a warning when redirecting from https to http.

To prevent matching on CSS classes/styles: Don't use inline CSS. I can give your ad a CSS class that is randomized on each pageload, but you must request this.

To prevent matching against your HTML structure: Use only one <a> and no other tags if possible. If your ads get blocked because of matching done on something inside of your ad, you are responsible for noticing this and giving me new ad HTML.

Designing ads

Make sure that your ads look good when you download and edit this test page:
Also read the comments in that file.

Images are not allowed no matter how they are created (CSS, SVG, or data URI). Occasionally I will make an exception for small logos and such, but you must get pre-approval from me first.

The maximum size of any one ad is 51200 bytes.

I will send you more detailed styling rules if you win slots in this auction (or upon request).

Auction rules

You must be at least a Jr Member to bid. If you are not a Jr Member and you really want to bid, you should PM me first. Tell me in the PM what you're going to advertise. You might be required to pay some amount in advance. Everyone else: Please quickly PM newbies who try to bid here to warn them against impersonation scammers.

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 @ 5 BTC and this is the highest bid, then he'll get all 9 slots. If the two highest bids are 9 slots @ 4 BTC and 1 slot @ 5 BTC, then the first person will get 8 slots and the second person will get 1 slot.

The notation "2 @ 5" means 2 slots for 5 BTC each. Not 2 slots for 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.
- All bid prices must be evenly divisible by 0.02.
- The bidding starts at 0.02.
- 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. I have a small bias toward ending auctions on Fridays, Sundays, and Mondays.
- If two people bid at the same price, the person who bid first will have his slots filled first.
- Bids are considered invalid and will be ignored if they do not specify both a price and a max quantity, or if they could not possibly win any slots

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:

Slots  BTC/Slot  Person
    6      0.20       A
    1      0.16       B
    1      0.08       C
    1      0.08       D

Slots  BTC/Slot  Person
    6      0.12       A [step 4: reduced to 0.10+0.02=0.12]
    1      0.10       B [step 3: reduced to 0.08+0.02=0.10]
    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.
723  Economy / Auctions / Re: Advertise on this forum - Round 275 on: April 29, 2019, 02:56:18 PM
Auction ended, final result:
Slots BTC/Slot Person
2 0.08 acarli [flattened from 0.10]
4 0.06 lightlord
1 0.04 BoXXoB
2 0.04 SwC_Poker
724  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Re: Idea for uncensorable DNS on: April 29, 2019, 05:55:49 AM
I think the tool you want is a locally decodable error correcting code. (some old discussion applying it to blocks)

Ah, good idea! It's not immediately obvious to me how you'd merge all of the data together, though.

I'm not sure why the timelock encryption couldn't be used to help with that.

In my boolean expression scheme, it seems necessary for miners to merge together all of the transactions with their true indexes, since this is important for performance and uncensorability, and merging can AFAICT only be done once. In a scheme based on error correcting codes, the time-delay encryption probably could be used here.

Depends on what you mean.

What I had in mind was an asymmetric lattice-based system where an encrypted database would be initialized by someone, but then the private key would be discarded. Then all network participants would have copies of the encrypted database and perform operations on it which would add/remove/update DNS data by encrypting the updates to the database's public key, but it (hopefully) wouldn't be possible to tweak the encrypted database directly in order to censor specific entries. Transactions would look like "apply UPDATE operation on your copy of the database using input <data encrypted to pubkey>".

However, as far as I can tell there'd be no way to get unencrypted data out of such a database in a controlled way, which you'd need to do in order to do lookups.
725  Other / Meta / Re: Will Theymos publish IP address of users? on: April 29, 2019, 05:28:50 AM
theymos will provide information to law enforcement without a warrant if he believes the person has committed a serious crime with an actual victim.

If theymos receives a valid subpoena that can be enforced in the US, he will have to give up IP address information per the order. If you are being accused of "promoting bitcoin" in your country, theymos will almost certainly fight any subpoena he receives  for your information, however he may or may not be successful. I also don't think a US court would enforce a subpoena if you were only "crime" was "promoting bitcoin"

Right. Though you shouldn't trust anyone with stuff like this; use Tor if you're concerned. In DTalk's case it's especially important, and simple proxies are likely insufficient, since HTTP/SOCKS5 proxies are unencrypted and a man-in-the-middle could apply eg. HTTPS stripping attacks.
726  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Idea for uncensorable DNS on: April 29, 2019, 02:11:56 AM
Maybe someone already thought of this, but in case not:


Provide a decentralized system to convert memorable short names like "bitcointalk.bit" into a small amount of data (512 B, say), while making it impossible for anyone by any means to take down or block names so registered.

Naïve solution

You can just put the name data into a block chain like Namecoin does, but this isn't ideal for (at least) these two reasons:
 - Miners and network participants can blacklist certain names, preventing them from operating. In the case of miners, only a majority of mining power is necessary to ban a name network-wide.
 - Network participants could perhaps be legally forced not to provide-for-download transactions/data related to certain domains. For example, a node operator could receive a DMCA takedown. (The exact legal details are debatable, but it's within the realm of possibility.)

(BTW, decentralized database systems usually have the same problem. Participants in the Tor hidden service DHT could refuse to provide service to certain hidden services which they blacklist, and if this happened on a wide scale it'd bring down the hidden service. I sketched out a possible solution for that problem in this post.)

Enhancement 1: time-delay encryption

Assume name data is being mined into blocks. Instead of having the blocks be immediately readable, the name data portion can be temporarily encrypted in this way:
 1. Hash together the concatenated hashes of the blocks with depth 20 through 120 or so to get a seed.
 2. Using the seed, choose a random pubkey point on a secp256k1-like curve. You get the point directly, not by producing a private key.
 3. Once you solve the block, you will asymmetrically encrypt the namedata portion to that pubkey.
 4. In order to solve the block, you need to brute-force the last not-yet-decrypted block from eg. ~24 hours ago, and include the private key in your new block. This is unsuitable as a timestamping proof-of-work, so after you do this and encrypt the namedata, you also have to timestamp your block hash using OpenTimestamps or similar.

Unlike eg. RSA, AFAIK all valid-looking secp256k1 pubkeys have a private key. Difficulty should be auto-adjusted to maintain the ~24-hour delay by producing modified versions of secp256k1 with smaller integer sizes.

You could also use symmetric crypto with a random instead of seeded key, but then the miner knows the key, so you can't use it for PoW. Also, although I don't use it in this post, it might be useful in some cases to allow people to encrypt transactions/data to one of these pubkeys.

This prevents miners from soft-forking out blocks which contain banned names. By the time they can test whether the block contains a banned name, it'll be deep in the chain and therefore difficult to undo.

Enhancement 2: mixing together namedata

Each block needs to contain a function which takes a name and produces the output data for that name. Typically this is done as just a list, but this makes it easy to modify the list. If a name is banned, nodes could republish block data with that name's data redacted. My solution to this is to construct the function so that all of the name data is jumbled together, it's not immediately obvious which names are contained in it (though you can test individual names), and you can't remove one name without affecting everything else. The best thing I've come up with for constructing such a function is:

 1. Let hash(name) = encHash and hash(encHash) = idxHash. The name's data is encrypted with the key encHash before being published to the network.
 2. Each miner generates a random key and encrypts idxHash and the name data before dealing with them, purely to ensure that they are uniformly random. This key is published in the block's unencrypted segment.
 3. Looking at all idxHash values in his candidate block, the miner attempts to find a most-minimal subset of their bits such that each idxHash is uniquely identified by as few bits as possible. (Note that duplicate idxHash values are not allowed.) The chosen bits can be in any order, and need not be contiguous. For example, a miner might find that bits 2,3,10,15,22,1,40,32,100,125 results in unique IDs for 500 entries. This is published in the final block.
 4. Using the smaller index value for each name, the miner constructs a truth table with the index as input bits and the double-encrypted name data as the output bits. When the block is nearly complete, the miner converts this truth table into an as-minimal-as-possible set of boolean formulas.

Say that you have these keys (name hashes) and values:
6A80AE9 A1
CDE2E9D 22
14DB3CF B3
1F43947 24
2CA8297 45

(In reality the keys would be 256 bits long, the values would be perhaps 4096 bits long, and there would be many more pairs.)

First, I choose a small subset of bits from the input such that each pair has a unique value. I choose bits 11-8, giving a binary truth table like this:
1010 10100001
1110 00100010
0011 10110011
1001 00100100
0010 01000101

And then I create boolean formulas from that, dictating the output of each bit 7-0:
e1 = i3&!i2&!i0;
e2 = i1&i0;
e3 = !i3&!i0;

o7 = e1 | e2;
o6 = e3;
o5 = !i1 | e1 | e2 | i2;
o4 = e2;
o3 = 0;
o2 = !i1 | e3;
o1 = e2 | i2;
o0 = e1 | e2 | e3;

That's the function. When given the a key, it produces the correct output. Eg. for input 0011 you get:
i3 = 0
i2 = 0
i1 = 1
i0 = 1

e1 = i3&!i2&!i0 = 0;
e2 = i1&i0 = 1;
e3 = !i3&!i0 = 0;

o7 = e1 | e2 = 1;
o6 = e3 = 0;
o5 = !i1 | e1 | e2 | i2 = 1;
o4 = e2 = 1;
o3 = 0;
o2 = !i1 | e3 = 0;
o1 = e2 | i2 = 1;
o0 = e1 | e2 | e3 = 1;

But you can't tell by looking at the function which keys were used to create it. You can test that it contains a name by trying to resolve the name using the function's data and seeing if it works, but if you want to remove it from the function, there's no way to do so without possibly ruining other keys, since you don't know what other keys are represented in the function, and everything is tangled together.

Sketch of the rest of a DNS

Every block should have a bloom filter matching the idxHash values within it, in the encrypted segment. To resolve a name, you'd go through every block in the past and check the name's idxHash against the bloom filter. If it passes the bloom filter, you reconstruct the data using the function explained above and try to decrypt it using its encHash. If it decrypts with a good MAC, then it's OK. You get the current name data by replaying its entire history of valid namedata updates, the first-ever of which will have a pubkey with which the rest are signed. Names might expire if not updated for a few years, to allow lost ones to return to the pool.

For payment, this is the best I could come up with: To register/update a name, you'd pay a "registrar" and give them the encrypted namedata update & idxHash. The registrar would send the namedata update to all miners along with a willing-to-pay price, signed with the registrar's own key. When a miner includes it (which the registrar & other miners can check by trying to find the idxHash in every future block once it's decrypted), the registrar pays a miner-address listed in the block the promised amount. Miners keep track of which registrars are actually paying them the promised amounts, and will blacklist any who stiff them. To start a new registrar, you might pay a miner an initial fee to get them to start listening to your transactions.

Miners would be constantly trying to brute-force the last unbroken encryption key from about a day ago. Unlike with normal cryptocurrencies, they wouldn't actually construct their final block until they found the solution. When they find it, they'd use OpenTimestamps to timestamp their block, wait for a timestamp-on-Bitcoin confirmation, and then broadcast it. To prevent withholding attacks, nodes would refuse to ever reorg unless the two candidate blocks are actually seen within minutes of each other. The brute-force difficulty might adjust only if the block interval goes outside of a pretty large range, which would allow for block generation to be more responsive to demand.


When you first register a name, nobody has any idea what it is since registrars and miners only get the hash and the encrypted data. But once the name becomes publicly-known, registrars and miners could refuse to process matching idxHash updates. This may be somewhat annoying, but since a softfork banning the name network-wide isn't possible, enough darknet registrars/miners should exist to make this not too much of a problem.

To resolve a name, you have to download and scan through every past block. I think that blocks should be pretty small (perhaps about 25-50kB per 10k domain updates?), and the max block size could be set very restrictively. Scanning a single block should be extremely fast, and it's also parallelizable. But after many years, the history could accumulate to the point of being problematic, and I can't see a perfect way of resolving this. One optimization would be to require that every domain send at least one update a year, and require that every update contain a pointer to the first-ever update which created the name; then, if there are no conflicts in a year, you can just trust that one, and if there are conflicts, you can check through a subset of the whole history to figure out which claim is correct.

To prevent miners from filling up every block with domain-squatted domains, maybe there should be some additional cost for every registration. One way to do this would be to require a hashcash proof-of-work in the data for every new domain -- if it's not there, then the registration is ignored at resolve-time as if it didn't exist.

I wonder if it's theoretically possible to create a homomorphic encryption scheme where an encrypted registry database is maintained which nobody has the decryption keys for, but it's still possible to do lookups. That'd be ideal.
727  Other / Politics & Society / A radical left-right compromise US budget on: April 27, 2019, 03:02:36 AM
Although I'm an anarcho-capitalist and in an ideal world I'd like there to be no government at all, I'm very interested in government/politics, and I don't scoff at gradual changes in the right direction. For a while I've been thinking that a left-right compromise is possible by increasing total tax collected while simultaneously reducing intrusiveness, regulation, and size of government. Here is a specific plan:

1 - Remove income tax and replace it with a national sales tax and a national property tax

Income tax is bad for the economy -- when you tax something you always get less of it --, and it's also highly invasive because almost everything you do might generate some income.

Property tax is a sort of wealth tax, which is quite anti-freedom, but it's also a pretty non-invasive tax since the government just has to go to the land and demand that the tax be handed over. They don't even need to know who lives on the land. It's also impossible to evade, which would be relevant if the entire world switched to private cryptocurrencies. Sales tax is also pretty non-invasive. Only businesses have to directly deal with it, and they just have to count up their sales and pay the appropriate tax.

The total land value of the US (not including improvements) is about $18 trillion.1 US consumers buy about $14.3 trilion in goods per year.2

I propose a 10% annual national property tax (on the value of the land alone, not including improvements, unlike most local property taxes) and a 55% national sales tax. This gives a (naïvely estimated) revenue of $9.7 trillion, much higher than the current US tax revenue of about $3.4 trillion.

A 55% sales tax sounds high, but keep in mind that the US currently has a 25% "sales tax" on imported steel, an 8% sales tax on diesel, and roughly a 22% sales tax on cigarettes. People can live with it, especially if their income tax is being eliminated.

2 - universal basic income

In order to offset the regressive nature of the sales tax and also act as a sort of very easy-to-administer welfare system, I propose a UBI of $20,608 per US citizen per year. This is calculated from the current federal poverty guideline of $12,490 plus 55% to cover the sales tax and 10% to cover the property tax. No means testing, since that complexifies the system -- think of it as undoing some of the property/sales tax in a progressive way.

More humans are good. A new human is someone who's almost certainly going to produce more in his lifetime than he's going to consume; it's not "just another mouth to feed". So in my plan I decided to include even children in the UBI, which massively subsidizes having children. You could instead choose to not include the 20% of US people under 16, or to give them less per year, which would reduce costs.

The US population is about 306 million3 when you subtract the 7% of the US population who are non-citizens 4. So the UBI has a total cost of $6.3 trillion per year, far higher than the current welfare spending.

3 - eliminate all other welfare

Eliminate social security, medicare, medicaid, and all other welfare. The UBI covers it instead. This saves about $3.3 trillion from the budget.5

Most people should be working. So don't complain about the (real) $12k/year not being enough for every little thing. For the miniscule percentage of the population who can't work at all, they could move to somewhere far away from major cities, where $12k/year is often enough to live on, or they could live with one or more roommates to reduce costs. If someone needs major surgery or something and they can't afford it, they should look to charities and their neighbors for help.

4 - eliminate all work-related regulations

Since nobody has to work in a particular job in order to survive, there's no argument for any work-related regulations. All work is now totally optional. So eliminate minimum wage laws, regulations related to hours worked, child labor laws, etc. This will boost GDP and probably increase tax revenue, possibly allowing for lower tax rates than given above, though I'm not qualified to estimate this.


So the budget is:
 - Property tax revenue: $1.8 trillion
 - Sales tax revenue: $7.9 trillion
 - Total tax revenue: $9.7 trillion
 - Non-welfare spending retained*: $3.3 trillion5
 - UBI: $6.3 trillion
 - Total cost: $9.6 trillion

(*Note that I would want to massively reduce war spending, but that's out of scope for this discussion.)

Although tax revenue is massively increased and total welfare is about doubled, the size of government in its intrusiveness and number employees massively shrinks. This IMO would be a pretty good outcome, and perhaps it's not politically impossible that the "far-left" and "far-right" could join forces in order to achieve something like this.

728  Other / Meta / Re: Viewing TRUST when not logged in on: April 26, 2019, 10:21:11 PM
Logged-out users will now see a warning in trust-enabled sections if more DT members neg-trust the topic starter than positive-trust him.

This increases the responsibility of DT members not to give negative trust for stupid reasons, but only for things that cause you to believe that the person is a scammer.
729  Economy / Speculation / Re: Wall Observer BTC/USD - Bitcoin price movement tracking & discussion on: April 26, 2019, 03:03:03 AM
BitFinx responds:

Confirms that a ton of money is at least "tied up".
730  Other / Meta / Re: [Another one, if possible, please] Is it possible me to find my "lucky" number on: April 25, 2019, 09:40:43 PM


You're not there yet.  Tongue

775, the minimum. Only a 0.4% chance of that.
731  Other / Meta / Re: Retention/privacy info on: April 25, 2019, 07:51:31 PM
Is this change in response to some government order? Just asking...

No. Previously IPs were logged sporadically but usually kept indefinitely; this is an overall significant reduction in retention.

It's a bad idea to provide any IP log to the user themselves. Compromised accounts happen and the situation could become worse if the attacker can access your IP logs.

Right. Though if someone really wants to know, I might consider manually giving them their logs after verifying that their account doesn't look hacked.
732  Other / Meta / Retention/privacy info on: April 25, 2019, 06:18:36 PM
I wrote a new unified IP logging/retention system, and I changed the way backups are done in order to ensure limited retention on certain privacy-sensitive things. See:

Previously I said that IPs are only logged when you post and in some limited other cases, such as when you encounter certain errors. This is no longer true: you should now think about IP logging as happening constantly.

There's now an option in your account settings which will allow you to reduce retention of your logged IPs to 3 months. You should only consider enabling this if you've staked a pubkey in the thread and you're sure that your account email is correct. I'm not sure if 3 months is enough to respond adequately to all abuse; we'll see, and I might change it later or perhaps restrict it based on rank.

I considered putting a warning on trust pages for users who have enabled limited retention, since it theoretically might make legal action against them more difficult in case they scam you, but my current thinking is that this is kind of pointless because someone could just not enable the setting and use Tor for the same effect. And it'd be both privacy-invasive and futile whack-a-mole to try to indicate when people are using proxies. On the other hand, scammers are often pretty stupid, so I could be convinced to add the warning.
733  Other / Meta / Re: Is it possible me to find my "lucky" number for legendary on: April 25, 2019, 01:56:12 PM

Ithought it was predetermined upon registration.

It is.
734  Other / Meta / Re: Loading "Watchlist" is very slow on: April 24, 2019, 01:53:21 PM
I'm performing database maintenance which could periodically slow down certain things. Post again if it's still notably slow on Saturday. (Though the watchlist is something that's always been not-very-performant. It helps if you edit your watchlist to make it smaller.)
735  Other / Politics & Society / Re: What do we expect the Mueller Report to Contain? on: April 24, 2019, 05:03:03 AM
The Mueller report is obviously not a neutral document and was written by a group of partisans.

Probably, but the flaws and biases mostly don't make themselves apparent to me at this time. I perceived a strong pro-DoJ bias, and of course the whole thing comes from a statist and establishment perspective, but nothing caught my eye as pushing a false narrative or anything like that.

One thing I noticed on this front is that the report states witness testimony as fact when the author finds it convenient, and in particular treats Cohen as 100% reliable. But I couldn't detect any actual false statements due to this.

I am also interested to see what else they did in regards to meddling in the election

They had huge followings on Twitter and Facebook, and they organized rallies in the US by sort of social-engineering people into being rally leaders. Also, the report convincingly argues that the hacking/leaking operations were specifically carried out with the intent of influencing the election, though this was not necessarily coordinated with the main social media campaign, which was done by a separate Russian group.

IIRC they used Twitter trolls to help Sanders during the primaries. I am curious if they did anything to help Clinton in 2016 (or 2008) that might have come out if she had won.

Yes, they weren't pro-Republican or pro-Democrat:

Quote from: VolI p22
More commonly, the IRA created accounts in the names of fictious US organizations and grassroots groups and used these accounts to pose as anti-immigration groups, Tea Party activists, Black LIves Matter protester, and other US social and political activists.
Quote from: VolI p23
[Russians:] "Main idea: Use any opportunity to criticize Hillary [Clinton] and the rest (except Sanders and Trump - we support them)."

What were most of the reasons for redactions in Volume 2? Was it for ‘ongoing investigation’? Or for other reasons (investigation techniques, national security, or personal privacy)?

Mostly "grand jury", with some "harm to ongoing investigation".
736  Other / Politics & Society / Re: What do we expect the Mueller Report to Contain? on: April 24, 2019, 04:00:59 AM
Still waiting for Theymos to awake from his (probably boring) time of reading this report and coming back with his findings.

Wait no more, as I have in fact now read the whole thing. It was actually very interesting, moreso than I'd expected. While it's very far from an exoneration, it's about as good as Trump could've hoped for, since it doesn't go into his personal business very much, he is personally rarely involved in anything too incriminating in the report, the number and severity of negative things are relatively small considering the massive scope of the investigation, and overall Trump comes across as more bumbling than criminal.

If you're interested in the report, I recommend reading the executive summaries at the start of each volume. Here are several scattered thoughts/notes of mine:


The Russians come off as kind of disorganized, like a few rich Russian guys who wanted to mess with American elections and casually threw a few million dollars at it. They achieved quite a bit, but no more than a few dedicated and skilled people could do. Their goal seems to have been primarily to see Hillary defeated, and so they focused on attacking her and helping everyone else, especially Trump and Sanders. They interacted with both left-wing and right-wing groups.

Today's social media is basically the perfect tool to manipulate people, and by using social media the Russians were able to achieve impressive results. It's quite possible that the election would've gone differently without them.

I wonder how the US got such detailed info on the Russian DNC/DCCC hacking. It makes me think that they might be logging most/all Internet traffic globally (which has long been suspected but unproven).

The hacking operations against election systems strike me as loud and primitive, and were probably intended mostly to sow distrust in the election system.

Trump's campaign was disorganized and naïve. They were used to these things being far away and not bothering them, so nobody was really thinking about the possibly criminal nature of the Russian stuff. They weren't prepared to be in the crosshairs of so many hostile actors both foreign and domestic, so they weren't nearly paranoid enough. I'm pretty sure that if the Russians had tried, they could've gotten the Trump campaign to do some super illegal things by abusing this careless attitude, but they either didn't think to do this or they didn't think that doing this would be in their interests. I'm not personally bothered much by the Trump campaign's outlook, since in my view law/democracy are things that you live with rather than values you fight for, and furthermore the campaign's activity in this matter was basically passive. They were being tempted by "evil", and would've fallen for it if the temptation had not been removed, but they were not the ultimate source of the "evil". If you do care about lawfulness or democracy as fundamental values, then I could understand condemning the Trump campaign's actions and outlook here, since they pretty clearly had a willingness to play very dirty in order to win and to perform acts that would break laws (even if in some cases they arguably didn't know that they would be breaking laws). (Note: IMO Clinton is probably far dirtier, but she's more experienced in hiding it.)

Bannon comes across as dirty, but too smart to leave a paper trail. Manafort comes across as very effective campaign-wise, and possibly a key in Trump's ultimate success, but he was completely ineffective at hiding his activities. It sounds like Trump himself basically has everyone else do all of his work for him, which is a decent way to stay out of trouble, at least. A whole lot of other people in both Trump's campaign and Russia come across as pretty stupid.

It's clear that there was no true conspiracy between Russia and the Trump campaign, and in fact the Russians were having a lot of trouble after Trump won in figuring out how to achieve effective communication with the incoming presidency.

Quote from: Julian Assange
it would be much better for GOP to win ... Dems+Media+liberals would then form a block to reign in their worst qualities ... With Hillary in charge, GOP will be pushing for her worst qualities, dems+media+neoliberals will be mute... She's a bright, well connected, sadistic sociopath.
GOP will generate a lot of opposition, including through dumb moves. Hillary will do the same thing, but co-opt the liberal opposition and the GOP opposition. Hence hillary has greater freedom to start wars than the GOP and has the will to do so.

Good analysis by Assange! I was thinking along the same lines at the time, and it turned out to be somewhat correct, though I've been disappointed at how much Trump has been able to continue/expand the wars. Ironically, Trump has probably been motivated to be extra hawkish due to the Russia hubub, which Assange contributed to. (Though hindsight is 20/20, and IMO Assange had good motives, at least.)

The report contradicts the idea that Wikileaks was some kind of puppet of the Russian government, though they were clearly not at all neutral.

Why is everyone sending sensitive communications via Twitter DM? Twitter's obviously going to turn that over to the government, maybe even without a warrant. It's even worse than email.

Reference to possible dirt on the Clintons on pages 61 and 109. I'm suspicious that a lot of the redactions elsewhere may also be protecting establishment figures.

Quote from: Vol I page 72
Cohen recalled conversations with Trump in which the candidate suggested that his campaign would be a significant "infomercial" for Trump-branded properties


Volume II - "WITCH HUNT"

Volume II is just hilarious. It basically makes the Trump administration look like a sitcom. I could seriously imagine it as a great dramatized comedy manga series or something (it'd be difficult to do a live-action show without being cringy).

when Sessions told the President that a Special Counsel had been appointed, the President slumped back in his chair and said, "Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I'm fucked. [...] How could you let this happen, Jeff? [...] Everyone tells me if you get one of these independent counsels it ruins your presidency. It takes years and years and I won't be able to do anything. This is the worst thing that ever happened to me.

Trump is portrayed as someone who has no idea what he's doing, who just randomly vents his thoughts to whoever he happens to come across. I actually laughed out loud several times reading volume II.

On March 26, 2017 [...] the President called NSA Directory Admiral Michael Rogers. The President expressed frustration with the Russia investigation, saying that it made relations with the Russians difficult. [...] The President also said that the news stories linking him with Russia were not true and asked Rogers if he could do anything to refute the stories. Deputy Directory of the NSA Richard Ledgett, who was present for the call, said it was the most unusual thing he had experienced in 40 years of government service.

There are many examples like the above; it's like Trump went through the presidential phonebook and said to everyone, "Hey, how's it going, you're fabulous. By the way, do you have any idea how I can get rid of this Russian nonsense?" Trump was so ineffective at handling his people and the Russia thing that he comes across as totally harmless, not as any real schemer.

More funny quotes:
During the June 19 meeting, Lewandowski recalled that, after some small talk, the President brought up Sessions and criticized his recusal from the Russia investigation. The President told Lewandowski that Sessions was weak and that if the President had known about the likelihood of recusal in advance, he would not have appointed Sessions. The President then asked Lewandowski to deliver a message to Sessions and said "write this down." This was the first time the President had asked Lewandowski to take dictation, and Lewandowski wrote as fast as possible to make sure he captured the content correctly. The President directed that Sessions should give a speech publicly announcing:

I know that I recused myself from certain things having to do with specific areas. But our being treated very unfairly. He shouldn't have a Special Prosecutor/Counsel b/c/ he hasn't done anything wrong. I was on the campaign w/ him for nine months, there were no Russians involved with him. I know it for a fact b/c I was there. He didn't do anything wrong except he ran the greatest campaign in American history.
The President also asked McGahn in the meeting why he had told Special Counsel's Office investigators that the President had told him to have the Special Counsel removed. McGahn responded that he had to and that his conversations with the President were not protected by attorney-client privilege. The President then asked, "What about these notes? Why do you take notes? Lawyers don't take notes. I never had a lawyer who took notes." McGahn responded that he keeps notes because he is a "real lawyer" and explained that notes create a record and are not a bad thing.

An important point is that Mueller went into this with the intention to refuse to say that the President was guilty of anything, though he would've been willing to exonerate him if this was absolutely clear. Some media outlets seem to present his non-conclusion as Mueller thinking that it was just too close to call, which isn't the case. After reading all of the report, I get a strong impression that Mueller thinks that Trump is guilty of obstruction of justice, but that he feels compelled not to explicitly say so. Instead, he lays out a very compelling case for obstruction of justice over 182 pages, and implies that either congress should impeach Trump or Trump should be prosecuted after he leaves office:
Quote from: Vol II Page 1
while the OLC opinion concludes that a sitting President may not be prosecuted, it recognizes that a criminal investigation during the President's term is permissible.3 The OLC opinion also recognizes that a President does not have immunity after he leaves office4.

3: "A grand jury could continue to gather evidence throughout the period of immunity"
4: "Recognizing an immunity from prosecution for a sitting President would not preclude such prosecution once the President's term is over or he is otherwise removed from office by resignation or impeachment"

Note that there are a bunch of grand jury redactions in volume II, which makes me think that they could be preparing to jump on Trump after he leaves office.

I find the arguments for obstruction of justice pretty convincing on an intellectual level, especially the witness-tampering-type stuff in Flynn's and Cohen's cases. Mueller makes a lot of good arguments for Comey's firing also being obstruction, but that I find more difficult to accept. But in reality this is 100% political, so the legal arguments don't matter all that much, and I also don't care whether Trump broke any laws. My opinion of Trump was a bit negatively impacted, but mostly due to his general disloyalty to his subordinates. On the whole, my opinion of Trump remains the same: 1) he's a bit crazy and rather ineffective, which is from my libertarian perspective good; 2) his policies are mostly objectively terrible; 3) but if you grade him on a curve with other recent presidents, he's above average.
737  Other / Serious discussion / Re: Interstellar and their theories of Black Hole on: April 24, 2019, 12:34:51 AM
I just recently started watching this movie, but I hated it and ended up just skipping around in the last half of it. I found the whole situation on and near Earth to be distractingly unrealistic: even with the (probably impossible) wormholes, it'd be far easier to fix Earth or in the worst case live in airtight shelters. The writing was terrible: everything was poorly-explained, plus cringy "love can bypass the laws of physics" nonsense.

Although it was all fairly unrealistic, some of the space stuff was cool to watch and think about. I thought the whole situation with Dr Mann was especially interesting and compelling.

[1] Is Cooper dead after entering Gargantua (a supermassive black hole in a near-by galaxy) which could be reached through the wormhole present near the saturn?
[2] How is he able to contact his daughter? I do know there are some speculative theories that when entering a Black Hole you could reach the White Hole which should be a entry point for a Parallel Universe!

It's total nonsense.

I have read of a theory where you have these black holes that could lead you to another dimension.

In this case, he would've gotten burned alive by the black hole's accretion disk, which was energetic enough to produce significant light on the nearby planets. The inside of the black hole would have all of this superhot material falling in, so it'd be sort of like falling into a star.

In theories where black holes could somehow be traversed, you'd need to use a very special black hole and approach it in a very special way.

So he doesn't experience spaghettification?

In a supermassive black hole, you can theoretically survive a while past the event horizon without the gravity ripping you apart (though various other things will probably still kill you).

But the movie as a whole isn't particularly scientifically accurate...
738  Other / Meta / Re: Yobit spam on the forum on: April 22, 2019, 05:43:29 PM
129 users who were wearing a yobit signature and had at least 1 good report against them in the last 14 days are banned for 14 days. All yobit signatures are wiped. Signatures containing "" are banned for 60 days.

Some people were talking about neg-trusting spammers for spamming. This is not appropriate; report the posts, and if that doesn't seem to be working well, come to Meta with specific examples and suggestions.
739  Other / Meta / Re: Thread owners on: April 22, 2019, 04:37:39 AM
Local rules are enforced entirely at the discretion of the relevant moderators. It's intended to be for stuff like "you must post a picture", "you must make a price prediction", "do not go on tangents about services other than <this one I'm interested in>", etc. Not really "these people are banned: ...". (Though I have been thinking about adding a function to ban specific users from your selfmod threads.)
740  Other / Politics & Society / Re: What do we expect the Mueller Report to Contain? on: April 19, 2019, 10:23:32 PM
Any idea on which page this is on? Very curious to see what the Russians are using Bitcoin for, even if it is neutral.

Pages 36-37 and 41. They mined and bought bitcoins and then used them to buy domain names and hosting, it seems.

This is a also a nice quote:

Quote from: page 10
Further, the Office learned that some of the individuals we interviewed or whose conduct we investigated -- including some associated with the Trump Campaign -- deleted relevant communications or communicated during the relevant period using applications that feature encryption or that do not provide for long-term retention of data or communications records. In such cases, the Office was not able to corroborate witness statements through comparison to contemporaneous communications or fully question witnesses about statements that appeared inconsistent with other known facts.

Lesson: always use encryption.
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